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THE LIFE OF
SAINT TERESA

With

TERESA SAINT TAKEN FROM THE FRENCH OF


"A

THE LIFE OF

CARMELITE NUN" BY ALICE LADY LOVAT WITH A PREFACE BY MGR. ROBERT HUGH BENSON

HERBERT & DANIEL 21 MADDOX STREET


LONDON
W.

PREFACE
T)ERHAPS
modern
the

most

remarkable
lies

symptom

of

the attempt to JT religious thought penetrate behind the differences of religious creeds to the common inheritance of spiritual experience
in

which,
it

it

is

spiritual facts,
is

thought, surely underlies them. we are told, are the same for

The
all

real
;

alike

but the play of individual or national or class temperaments in a word, purely human limitations
that have

produced the unhappy clash of dogmas which has divided for so long religiously minded men and women. Gradually we are learning, our modern prophets tell us, that our agreements are more con
siderable than
before

our variations, that our attitudes are more important than our tenets and it will not be long
;

acknowledge that historical events (or supposed events), and still more the doc trines deduced from them, which have formed up to now
fearlessly to

we come

the principal features of every faith, are comparatively if not wholly and that real religion consists negligible in a "will-attitude" towards the Supreme Will rather
;

than in an intellectual appreciation of any particular


facts, historical or
It
is

dogmatic.

not worth while analysing this position very closely, since, like the earlier theories as to the evolu tion of physical life, it evades, as a matter of fact, the

whole point

at issue

namely, the question as to how,

viii

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

spiritual experience is really all one, these variations came into existence. For religion, it must be remembered, is not one department of life (like art or
if

ever

cannot be segregated from the rest of our without experience ceasing to be true to itself: it is,
biology)
;

it

on the contrary, either the sum of the whole of life, affecting and being affected by every single incident
not true religion at all. To attempt, that is inde therefore, to frame a spiritual religion pendent of fact and event and tradition and record, or, (which is the same thing), to believe that it is the
of
life,

or

it

is

"

"

object, not of the senses or of the intellect or the affec tions, but rather of a special and individual religious sense," is to dethrone it from its proper place and to
"

department of merely human activities. Argument, however, is very nearly useless in such a matter since argument is believed, as by more than one characteristically modern sect, to be itself carnal
set
it

in the

and external. If the tide of false spirituality is to be stemmed at all, it must be by other means, and, per haps most of all, by the presentation to the world of those giants of spiritual experience whose achievements
in the deep things of the spirit are beyond all dispute, and who yet, repeatedly and professedly, base all that they know upon the despised facts and dogmas and historical events of the religion which they follow. For by studying such lives as these it becomes pos

sible to

compare

religion with religion, to understand

not only that dogmas affect the spiritual interior atti tude, but how they affect it, and with what results
not only, that
is,

to discern the

common

possessions of

those

of various creeds are yet all enlightened in various degrees by the One Light of

who under

the

shadow

PREFACE
the

ix

but, what is even more important, the differences that divide them, and the consequent claim

World,

of one Religion distinguished from the rest as being the actual historical revelation of Almighty God. No

Christian, least of all a Catholic, desires to minimize the portion of truth to which every sincere soul can attain by a conscientious fidelity to the Light within

her ; but it is the most superficial and shallow intellec tual laziness to be content with this, and to assume as
a matter of course that since there are various
petitors in the field,

com

none of them

is

legitimate.

Now, in the long list of Christian seers, the name of Teresa of Jesus is perhaps the best known of all. Other figures stand out brilliantly in this or that light
of the

Saint Francis of Assisi, as the all-but-perfect imitator Poor Man of Galilee Saint Benedict, as the father of a holy family beyond all reckoning Saint as a veritable of an Ignatius, captain army of Christ ;
; ;

life is concerned the know ledge and sovereignty of that inner realm where, as in a magic mirror, the historical and external life of Christ

but, so far as the interior

is

reproduced and re-enacted, where His Birth,

His

Passion, His Resurrection, Ascension, and Session are seen to be not merely exterior happenings, but the anti types of actual individual experience in all this strange

region known as the scene of the mystical life, Saint Teresa, with two or three of her contemporaries Saint John of the Cross, Saint Peter of Alcantarareigns supreme.

She was born into circumstances which to our modern eyes are the most romantic that can be imagined, of a noble Spanish family, in the town of Avila, and at

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


is
;

the period which the Christian era


"

for she

perhaps the most significant in came into the world almost


"

Reformation began, and left exactly as the a year or two of the defeat of the Spanish

it

within

Armada.

Nearly the whole of her life was, however, spent within convent walls, and the news of all the world-shaking movements and incidents of the time came to her

through the strange atmosphere engendered by her life an atmosphere which the world would say was one of obscurantism, and herself, no doubt, one of extra
luminousness. For, with her marvellous of the realm motive and fundamental of knowledge and principles spiritual realities, she would understand
ordinary
interpret those exterior portents in a manner alto gether impossible to those who strove with them in the

and

dust and din of the conflict

and her exceptionally practical abilities, as illustrated by her schemes of reform and her numerous religious foundations, as well as by the strong common sense and sanity of her
;

writings these preclude the possibility of regarding her merely as a dreamer or visionary to whom the world seems but a phantom.
First, then, we may look upon her as one of God s answers to the charge brought against the Church of

the sixteenth century, to the effect that true Christianity was dead, that the old spiritual tradition was lost, and that a burdensome and Pharisaic code of observances
formalities had taken its place. For, at the very time that Teresa was born along with the other souls who, with her, formed one of the most brilliant cluster of spiritual lights to which Christianity has ever given rise Luther was already beginning his thunders against the "papal system"; and within a year or

and

PREFACE

xi

two of her entry into Religion Henry VIII of England was beginning to contemplate his final assault upon the Religious Houses of his realm. History has since

and
yet

vindicated monasticism from the charge of corruption superstition, even though the world may not be

and, of course, never will be converted to a sense of the utility of the enclosed contemplative life
;

but

if

any

further answer were needed to the accusation


r

that the Religious Life involves a sacrifice of common sense and intelligence as w ell as of the nobler faculties

of

human nature, it would surely be found in the fact that Teresa of Jesus not only embraced the Life with
full

and deliberate consent, but persevered


it

in

it,

illu

minated it, and extolled which a soul can come.

as the highest vocation to

Here, then, in the very midst of a period concerning which even defenders of the Church are found some times to speak deprecatingly and almost apologetically, in the very heart of the life of a nation most character istically and passionately Catholic, and therefore most generally considered to be the type arid acme of de generation and ignorance under these circumstances

we
go

find a soul, intensely


to

human

crammed, we might
humour, shrewd

almost say, with exactly those attributes and gifts that

make
and

a brilliant social figure

ness,

delicacy of insight

and

instinct, virile

common

sense,

a soul of strong humanity no less than of a genius for divine things, entering into that very state of life which, normally, ought to have extinguished her name for ever, and yet, from the remoteness and silence of her cell, influencing the world as perhaps no woman and scarcely any man
practical abilities

has ever yet succeeded in influencing

it.

Not one man

xii

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


ten thousand,

in

probably,

knows the name


;

of the

builder of the Pyramids, or of the founder of a Mexican Dynasty, or of the inventor of the pulley and prob

ably not one in that same ten thousand but has at least heard the name of Teresa, if no more. On what, then, rests her claim to fame ?
practical works. had entered, she which she founded over thirty monastic establishments, she

Certainly she accomplished


into

many

She reformed the Order

is

the lives of a great many individuals yet it scarcely at all in these outward works that she is known to the world. It is rather in that inner life of

managed

hers,

"hid

with Christ in

God,"

that

life

which we

know, so far as we know it, from her books and letters, that life lived within walls, in silence and solitude, that
she burns to-day, like a star, in the heaven even of those who deny its existence. She has made herself known, that is, by the sheer force of her inner life,

amongst those who

are most apt to question

its reality.

Now

the inner

life is,

from

its

very nature, inexpres

sible in its essence

inexpressible, that is, as art or love can learn something or beauty are inexpressible. of the limits, or the conditions, or the results of these

We

things
it,

but

we cannot experience

life

except by living-

any more than a

mathematician can understand

Beethoven through the process of reckoning up vibra The utmost, then, that can be done towards tions.

making the inner

life

analysable or intelligible

is

by

presenting analogies proportionate to their originals. (It was this method, we may note in passing, which

our Divine Lord Himself employed


of the

in

His revelation
of all
is

kingdom

of

God
life.

that final

embodiment
it

organized spiritual

In one aspect

like a net,

PREFACE
in

xiii

another

like

a pearl, in another like a city seen

against the sky.)

No analogy
fact only.

is

each illustrates

one

To

complete in itself; gain even an ap

proximately adequate idea of the original it is necessary to have a number of illustrations. She wrote, it This, then, was Saint Teresa s plan. might almost be said, voluminously, considering the nature of her life, and almost entirely under obedience

and she to her spiritual directors not merely for the details of her
;

employed analogies
theme, but for the

which she presented it. The fullest example of this method is to be found in that which is perhaps her best-known work, the Spiritual Here she displays before us the scheme Mansions." of deepening spirituality through which the developing soul must pass in its gradual approach towards, and final union with, God, under the allegory of a castle where two dwell together, the Creator and the creature. She shows us, under the name of "mansions," or, in
whole framework
itself in
"

the Italian phrase, "apartments" or suites of rooms, the various stages in which this growth in holiness consists, describing the temptations, the delusions, the
graces,

the consolations
chamber"

common

to each,
it),

up
in

to the

"nuptial

itself

(and beyond

which

the union of the soul with

God is made perfect. Again and again, it need hardly be said, the analogy wavers, and sometimes even breaks in her strong hand she she runs off for flings it aside, and catches up another and after into shrewd counsels, disquisitions, page page and warnings and encouragements but the reader, stumbling after, bewildered by her movements, yet becomes more and more conscious as he perseveres that here is a soul who knows indeed of what she is
; ; ;

xiv

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

speaking, who has experienced all that she relates, and far more, with a vividness compared to which the keen ness of sensation in other realms of being is but a very faded and nerveless experience above all, that here is a soul who has found the one thing needful," and
"

who

"

knows

in

Whom

she has

believed."

In other writings of hers it is the same. She uses sometimes analogies of the Godhead, let us say, which

appear fantastic and indeed ludicrously inadequate,


until

we

reflect that all

be so.
Father,

Even Christ Himself,


is
"

analogies of the Godhead must Who reveals to us the

own,

compelled, not by His limitations, but our Him to an unjust judge," an "austere a "nobleman man," taking a journey/ an observer of trapped sparrows. For, owing to these limitations
to liken

of ours, there is simply no possible way by which we can learn spiritual all-truths except by seeing them reflected in a many-facetted mirror of half-truths.

Saint Teresa, then, as a

"wise

steward"

of spiritual

experience, is perfectly fearless in what she brings out of her storehouse. God is a kind of "globe" He is
;

also her

Spouse

He

is

also a sort of Darkness.

All this, of course, appears like hysterical raving to those minds that sedulously confine themselves to

material

phenomena, and judge

of a thing s

reality

according to its

than an emotion or a virtue, who thinks that the bread that perishes is more solid and permanent than the Bread which never perishes, who regards human love as the
"real"

man who

approximation regards a table as more

to inert matter.

The

effect of

as

a condition of material particles this man is capable of understanding Saint Teresa as his opposite, the man who does not regard a table as real
little

PREFACE
at all.

xv

fact is that Saint Teresa, like every real a perfectly balanced personality, and she is genius, thought, therefore, too realistic by the idealists, and too idealistic by the realists. She has found out, by
is

The

the aid of grace acting


there
is

upon a
in

selected nature,

that

but

one

thing

the world

pursuing the knowledge of one which verifies itself as

God
it

really worth that this quest is

is

pursued

that

it

in

creases, that is to say, the sense of reality in the soul that follows it, instead of, as the materialist thinks,

leading

to

mere visionariness and abstraction


on the one side
its reality is

and

that while

so great as to make all else insignificant, on the other it must use images of created things in order to express itself; and
that
it

develops rather than retards the administration


this balance

of even the most practical concerns.


It
is

that constitute,

as

it

and sanity in Saint Teresa, then, would appear, her claim to be

heard in the present generation. live, largely, in an age of over-specialization. Men tend at present to devote themselves not to living in general, but to doing one thing in particular, to know all about one thing,"
"

We

but to neglect
things.

all

Religion,

art,

knowledge whatever about other science as was said just now

each has its votaries, but the number of those who attempt to live religiously, artistically, and healthily, all at the same time in a word, to live as complete and
not fragmentary
decrease.
in

human beings

seems steadily on the


:

Many causes contribute to this


;

competition,
;

one way attention to temperament, in another and the result is that mysticism or, in other words, an intelligent and conscious attention to the is thought to be as faddish and spiritual life peculiar

xvi

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


a
careful

as

attention to diet or health-clothing a but slightly contemptible vocation suitable only for those who have nothing else more important with which to occupy themselves. And this condition of public opinion has its inevitable result even upon even those who those who ought most to resent it have by nature or grace that temperament at once

possible

introspective
ficing,

and generous, self-knowing and self-sacri which constitutes the nature, little mystical
"
"

by little come to look upon themselves as exceptional and peculiar, to cultivate an attitude of remoteness and abstraction, and to regard their citizenship in the

company

of the saints as

in

inverse

ratio

to

their

companionableness on earth. Into this stifling and perfumed unreality the per sonality of Saint Teresa enters like a morning breeze
of

summer.

the scents of the fields of nature

She too has her perfumes, but they are and grace she too
;

has her ecstasies, her embraces, her aspirations, her communications, but they are the dealings of a real soul with a Divine Lover, not of an anaemic sentimentalist with a god made in her own image and likeness. She too soars up into darkness, but it is the realm of the clouds and darkness that are about the throne of the un created Light, not the miasma that rises from the earth. She soars, but she never loses her head she is drunken, but not with wine. For those things make her more, and not less, real than the rest of us. Never for one hour does she lose her shrewdness, her gaiety, her almost divine gift of humour. Distrust yourselves," she tells her sisters
;
"

in effect,

"when
:

you begin

to faint in the

arms

of your

Beloved

when such and such symptoms

occur, your

PREFACE
;

xvii

ecstasy proceeds not from an excess of spirit, but a eat well. It is infinitely defect of body. Sleep well

God to see a convent of quiet and who children do what they are told than a mob healthy of hysterical young women who fancy themselves
more pleasing
to

privileged.

."

yet her encouragement is even greater than her criticism, as must be the case with every friend of God.
sat in her cell far into with her on, tracing with her spectacles night, the marvellous account of her voyagings painful pen to the Bosom of God she too, as month after month went by, turned from her fruitless attempts at medita tion to reading in a book, unable to fix her mind for

And

She too had headaches, as she

the

three

minutes together upon Him Whom she loved more than all the world she too found it necessary
;

to sit at bodily ease, would have knelt in


"

humble worshipper she too, describing the person whom she once knew," found herself very wicked indeed at such and such a time, very worldlyminded, very unsatisfactory in all her relations both with God and man. And yet she too went on trying," that the one essential of sanctity trying fulfilling by and of union with Him without whose grace and
a less
;

when

agony

"

"

"

mercy every success is a failure, and by whose love every failure can be transmuted into triumph. Finally it must be remarked how, in a line with what has already been said of her, Saint Teresa offers one

more answer
days.

to

one more fallacy

common

in

our

own

It is generally believed, as has already been implied, that Mysticism is the religion of the vaguely-minded, that high spiritual religion has something in it incom-

xviii

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
and
that

TERESA
it

patible with dogmatism,

is,

in

fact,

an

initiation into a unity so high as to be incapable of precise statement, and that intense, or, in other words,

personal feeling cannot easily co-exist with defined statements of fact, or be subjected to ordinary rules of discipline. Here, once and for all, Saint Teresa speaks plainly. Not only is she a rigid Catholic, first

perhaps might be explained away by the life and her period), but she is an enthusiastic dogmatist, and an humble and obedient
last (that

and

circumstances of her

disciple of the rather incompetent spiritual directors by whom Providence for a time tested her capacity for

For indeed, in the mysticism of the disciples docility. of Jesus Christ, teaching as He did that the very virtues which we ourselves demand of children are the
virtues which

He demands

from

us,

there can be no

greater hence of a true union with


sion
to

criterion of

a true submission to

those

whom

God (and a true than submis Him) the Catholic holds to be His

And, after all, this representatives and vicegerents. is but natural, since Christian mysticism is not primarily
(as are certain forms of pagan mysticism) an initiation into truths of the intellectual order, but rather of the

moral

it

is

not in order to learn

new

facts

about

the supernatural that Saint Teresa and St. John of the Cross enter into contemplation, but to dwell upon facts

them, to perceive their into the realm of ex perience, and by this process to pass into an ever closer and more intimate union with Him of whom they are true. Humility, then obedience to those whose spiritual insight is not so deep as her own so
already known, inwardness, to
to correlate

embody them

far

from being an obstacle,

may become

in

itself

PREFACE

xix

positive progress for the soul, far more elevating than the brilliant excursions and adventures in which a less

obedient spirit imperils her


self-contempt. So too was
to
it

own self-knowledge and


regard even
details of the

with Saint Teresa in


called the

what might be

dogmatic

It is a constant danger to the soul Catholic system. which enjoys a high degree of insight to despise as merely elementary helps to beginners those compara

tively small and optional devotions with which the Church furnishes her children and, even more than
;

this,

negligible familiar truths delivered by authority when contrasted with personal discoveries that have the charm of novelty and indi This, in short, was the exact process by viduality. which Quietism fell the earlier Quietists, beginning
to
;

regard as almost

by acts of intense spiritual insight (of a nature whose perils were not understood), so much over-valued these, and the sensations that followed from them, that little by little the most weighty means of grace, instituted by Christ Himself, began first to be under-valued, and
It is a constant temptation to certain then neglected. kinds of intuitive souls to regard, as has been re

marked,
ments."

"

everything as sacramental, except the sacra

one instant did Saint Teresa even approach Not only was her fervour nourished steadily and consistently by those ordinary and familiar means of grace accessible
for in the direction of this spiritual trap.

Never

to us all, but

she laid the strongest possible emphasis upon what are comparatively optional observances, such as an ardent devotion to Saint Joseph and a There never appears in frequent use of holy water.

xx

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

her story from beginning to end even the faintest trace of that spiritual snobbery in which so many souls, otherwise capable of real progress, hinder their own
sanctification.

She was so

far

advanced as never

to

forget that she was a child, so wise as never to ignore "the foolishness of God," so strong as fearlessly to condescend to that weakness" in which the Divine
"

Strength

is

made

manifest.

few of the most prominent and significances of the soul whose history is here related, up to the point when she passed from Contemplation to the Beatific Vision, that last and final Mansion of the soul that received her in her Father s House. Of what she has done in the past, the of what she story of Mysticism is already eloquent will do in the present and in the future, now that once more the nightmare of materialism seems passing, and guides who have themselves traversed the ground of the interior life are once more being eagerly demanded, we may be confident and expectant.
then, in short, are a
characteristics
;

Such

ROBERT HUGH BENSON.

CONTENTS
CHAPTER
Birth of St. Teresa
I

PAGE

Her ancestors on male and female side Avila Teresa and her brother run away from home in order to seek martyrdom Her youthful piety
. . .
.

CHAPTER
Death of Teresa
s

II

grace the result Cepeda Teresa

mother Teresa at of bad companions


is

fifteen

Her

infidelity to

Marriag-e of Maria de sent to a convent to finish her education


.

14

CHAPTER
Teresa at the Augustinian convent

III

Her friendship with the Head Mistress of the school, Maria Briceno She returns home in bad health She visits her sister Maria in the country, and her uncle Don Pedro Teresa s thoughts are directed to the cloister in consequence of the books she reads at Hortigosa She makes up her mind to become a Carmelite, and breaks the news to her
father

He

refuses to let her join the

Order

26

CHAPTER
Teresa
is

IV

taken by her brother to the convent of the Incarnation Her father makes up his mind to the sacrifice Teresa as a

novice

made

Her joy in the religious exercises Her charity She is infirmarian and devotes herself to a nun dying of a
She
is

revolting complaint

professed

40

CHAPTER V
Teresa s health, always bad, becomes very alarming Her father is allowed to take her home Teresa spends the winter at Castellanos She is treated by a quack doctress at Becedas, becomes much worse, and is brought home in a dying condition She asks for her cure throug-h the intercession of St. Joseph

Her devotion

to that saint,

and recovery

xxii

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


CHAPTER
VI
PAGE

Teresa goes through a period which she describes afterwards as that of her "great infidelity." She neglects the practice of mental prayer, and spends much of her time in con versation in the convent parlour Her remorse in later years Explanation of the sense in which this is to be understood
. . .

...

67

CHAPTER
Don Alonso
dies

VII

Teresa s distress She opens her soul to her father s director, Fr. Vincent Barren He advises her to resume the practice of meditation She is tried by fourteen years of She dates her first surrender of herself wholly to God aridity from the Lent of 1555 The impression made upon her by St.
Augustine
s

Confessions

81

CHAPTER

VIII

Description of the four states of prayer taken from the saint s biography, which she wrote in obedience to her director s orders.

Teresa illustrates it by comparing the soul to a garden which is watered in four different ways In the first, the gardener draws the water this is when the soul has only newly turned to God and is tormented by worldly thoughts, and (possibly) interior In the second the water is drawn up by a wheel and trials. buckets and the fatigue is lessened here the soul has drawn nearer to God, and occasionally enjoys His interior consola
: ;

tions, but

they are intermittent.

The
;

third

method

is

when

the

gardener has turned a stream on to his garden so that he gets the water easily with little fatigue this, the saints tells us,
the prayer of quiet soul are recollected in God without

happens

all the powers of the any suspension of the senses, and the will alone acts-. In the fourth state God Himself waters His garden abundantly without the gardener having to exert himself at all this is the prayer of union, which the saint describes as that in which the soul becomes one with the Divine Spouse, and reposes delightfully on His bosom

in

when

92

CHAPTER
The
divine favours received

IX

Don

F. de Salcedo brings
s

examine Teresa

by Teresa are attributed to the devil a learned priest, Caspar Daza, to method of prayer He pronounces her to be

CONTENTS
suffering from delusion She consults a Jesuit

xxiii
PAGE

Teresa

s humility

and her

distress

and makes a

retreat under
tells
.

him

He

reassures her St. Francis Borja also has received in prayer are from God

her the lights she


.

..114

CHAPTER X
Teresa

moved from Avila She goes on a her relations, and makes acquaintance with Dona Guiomar is introduced by her to Fr. Baltasar Alvarez, S. J. He becomes her director She makes great advances in per The people of Avila are persuaded fection under his direction Teresa is deluded by the devil Maridiaz is held out as a
s first Jesuit director is
visit

to

model

to her

Teresa,

in

great anguish, struggles against her

raptures

Our Lord Himself consoles her Her first vision, an intellectual one Her second, in which she sees our Lord with
all

the eyes of the soul in

the beauty of His sacred humanity

129

CHAPTER

XI

Persecution of Teresa by well-meaning people (including the nuns) continues She receives great favours from God Her ecstasies are now almost continual Her heart is transfixed by the fiery dart of a seraph She makes the heroic vow always to do

whatever is most perfect She is greatly troubled by evil Meets St. Peter of Alcantara, by whom she is consoled spirits

151

CHAPTER

XII

The idea is started of founding a monastery of Carmelite nuns of the Reform Teresa doubts, but is reassured by our Lord Her director, the Provincial of the Order, St. Peter Alcantara and St. Francis Borja are consulted They encourage her to proceed A review of the Order of Mount Carmel from its
foundation to this time (1560) Teresa meets with a storm of opposition when her intentions are divulged Dona Guiomar comes to her assistance with offers of money and support They lay the matter before a learned Dominican, Fr. Ibanez,

who

Teresa

The opposition gets ever more violent threatened with imprisonment The provincial with draws his consent Teresa in great anguish is consoled in visions A house is found and turned into a monastery
also approves
is

raises

Teresa s nephew is killed by fall of masonry The saint him to life again, and restores him to his parents The evil spirits do all they can to bring the scheme to naught
.

169

xxiv

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


CHAPTER
XIII
PACK

Teresa

ordered by the provincial to go to Toledo to stay with the Dona Luisa de la Cercla Her distress at leaving- her new Foundation at this critical moment Our Lords tells her it She occupies herself in writing her is His will she should obey life in obedience to Fr. Ibafiez Teresa meets Mother Mary of Jesus, another Reformer of the Order, at Toledo They confer on their plans for Reform Return of Teresa to Avila after six months stay at Toledo Our Lord foretells she will find a great trial awaiting her there A brief from Rome authorizes the establishment of the new community of the Reform, under the He declines jurisdiction of Mgr. de Mendoza, bishop of Avila at first the responsibility, finding that it is to be unendowed Teresa goes to St. Joseph s St. Peter persuades him to consent
is

(her

new convent) and superintends

the

conclusion of

the
is

building

A
.

sketch of the
.

first
.

postulants
.

The convent

opened

...

195

CHAPTER XIV
Great interior
trials

of the saint

She

is

summoned back

to the

Incarnation, and accused of disobedience to her superiors The provincial is sent for Teresa vanquishes opposition by her humility and meekness A great storm arises in Avila against

new Foundation It is principally directed against its want of revenue, a non-endowed community being unknown there The Governor orders the four postulants to retire to their homes The cause is carried before the King s council Teresa
the
is

ordered to give up all concern in the new Foundation Our Lord reassures her She is allowed to return to St. Joseph s
.

219

CHAPTER XV
new convent Its perfect simplicity and Description poverty The nuns duties They divide the work between them, Teresa taking her turn at cooking Her niece, Maria de Ocampo, becomes a postulant a second postulant, Maria de Avila, brings a dowry which enables them to add to the size of the church The fervour of the little novices Teresa com poses verses in honour of the various feasts The Blessed Virgin
of
the
;

encourages them

in

a vision

CONTENTS
CHAPTER XVI
Teresa
s instructions to

xxv
PAGE

the

community on love of

solitude (the

Their duty of praise and spirit of Carmel) and on prayer reparation She sums up all in a treatise on the Constitution of the Order, the first of her numerous ascetic works The

Dominican, Fr. Ibafiez, incited by her nuns, lays the command upon her to write her Way of Perfection It is specially addressed to her community An epitome of the treatise, with extracts Her rules regarding- intercourse with the world Teresa effects many miraculous cures on people who have
recourse to her

Her

interior

life

at St.

Joseph

252

CHAPTER
An

XVII

Apostolic Missionary, Fr. Maldonado, arrives at St. Joseph s and preaches on the dearth of priests to work in evangelizing the New World Teresa is on fire with desire to give more souls to God Our Lord consoles her in vision and tells her to wait In 1867 Fr. Rossi, General of the Order, visits Avila,

having been sent by the Pope to see if it was possible to start a Reform of the Order all over the world He is much edified with all he sees at St. Joseph s The saint asks him leave to

more convents of the Reform, and obtains permission to also he authorizes her to found two monasteries for men of the strict Observance She fixes on Medina del Campo as
start

do so

site for

the next Foundation

Is joined

Incarnation

Difficulties arise

by four nuns from the and are overcome by Teresa s

energy and confidence in God Providential interpositions A rich benefactor gives them all they require The saint extends
her Reform to the friars of Carmel

Two benefactors offer land

and houses Teresa is called by affairs of the Order to Madrid She founds another convent at Malagon She returns to Avila Leaves it after a month, and goes to Valladolid, where
she founds another convent
.

...

279

CHAPTER

XVIII

Teresa begins her great work of the Reform of Carmel, aided by Fr. John de Mathias, afterwards known as St. John of the Cross Sketch of his life Teresa trains him in the Rule and Constitutions at Valladolid before sending him to found a monastery at Duruelo He is joined there by Fr. Anthony The astounding poverty of the house Life of prayer led by the friars A sketch of the Order of discalced Carmel ites, male and female
.

31

xxvi

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


CHAPTER XIX
PAGE

Return of Teresa to the palace of the Dona Luisa de la Cerda at Toledo She founds a convent at Toledo after great of Teresa over the opposition Joy poverty of the community They are almost starving" when a benefactor is sent to them Teresa much consoled by the holiness of her novices She founds convents at Alba de Tormes and Pastrana Her incessant journeys She meets Fr. Mariano, who restored the Order of St. Basil at Madrid, and they confer together Teresa meets with great troubles from the Princess of Eboli, who gives land for a Foundation but wishes to interfere in the Rule of the community Letters from Teresa to her brother Lorenzo Teresa sees in vision the massacre of forty Jesuits by
pirates (July s6th, 1570)
. .

...
;

322

CHAPTER XX
The Foundation
join her there

Salamanca Two novices of eminent sanctity Foundation at Alba de Tormes History of the Founders, Francesco Velasquez and his wife Teresa the latter has a vision concerning this Foundation The saint leaves for
at

A miracle signalizes her visit to the Monterey Teresa goes through great spiritual trials at Sala manca Our Lord consoles her in a vision She has some remarkable revelations whilst at this convent She leaves for Medina, and there a dispute arises between herself and the provincial about the reception of a novice The provincial orders her to leave the convent She meekly obeys She is reinstated by order of the Vicar Apostolic
Salamanca
family
.
. .

345

CHAPTER XXI
The
Apostolic Visitor appoints Teresa prioress of the convent of the Incarnation She is bidden by our Lord to consent When

she goes with Fr. Hernandez to assume the post she is met with a fury of opposition She vanquishes it by her unalterable calmness and humility At the first Chapter she puts a statue of our Lady in the prioress s seat In a few days complete

peace
to the

is

restored

Fr.

John of the Cross


saints are

is

appointed confessor

rapt in ecstasy whilst speaking of God Fr. Jerome Gratian, a young Carmelite novice, defies the Incarnation in knightly fashion to a spiritual

convent

The two

CONTENTS
joust

xxvii
PAGK

Teresa s charming answer to the challenge Teresa watches over the interests of her eight Foundations of the Reform Each in turn causes her anxiety, especially the one at Medina del Campo She has a vision, in which Jesus Christ unites Himself still more closely to her, and He pronounces His Her account of His divine spiritual espousals with her soul operations in the souls of the blessed taken from her Founda
tions chap, in
. .
.

36

CHAPTER

XXII

Teresa undertakes a long and trying journey to Salamanca She loses her way on her mule, and spends the night in the woods
Holiness of Anne of Jesus, the superioress The Princess of Eboli, foundress of the convent of Pastrana, gives great trouble and anxiety to the community Her husband having died, she
informs them of her intention to join it She wishes to break the enclosure for her friends to see her Finally quarrels with the community and leaves them without means of subsistence Teresa tries to make a Foundation at Segovia and meets with great opposition Teresa appears to Isabella of the Angels at Salamanca (she herself being at Segovia), consoles her in her
last

agony, and tells her she will go to Heaven the same day of Teresa s appointment of prioress to the Incarnation to expires They wish to re-elect her, but she implores them suffer her to go on with her work, and recommends the subprioress to the post, who is accordingly elected She goes to Valladolid and Veas and to Almavador She visits a devout family of the name of Garcia, and prophesies the sanctity of one of their children She makes her first Foundation in Andalusia

The term

382

CHAPTER
Teresa at sixty years of age

XXII I
await her

Great

trials

She enters

that period of her life known to her biographers under the name of her Gethsemane She is to find great support in Fr,

John Gratian, who became, later on, her director His life and history The Reform of Carmel, notwithstanding the fervour of Teresa gives the reasons its members, runs risk of a collapse miti (i) They were under the authority of provincials of the gated Rule (2) they had no Constitutions Accordingly there was no unity amongst them The heads of the mitigated Rule get up an organized opposition to the Reform The General, Fr. Rossi, deserts Teresa s cause and obtains from Gregory XIII
:

xxviii

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


PAGB

a Brief of revocation

Teresa confers with Fr. Gratian on means

to be taken to save the

Reform He goes to the King- (Philip II) to remonstrate, and is well received by him Teresa attacked by fever on her journey from Avila to Seville Her account of her adventures on the road The Princess of Eboli insists on see
ing Teresa s life, and breaks her promise of showing it no one Reports with regard to its orthodoxy reach the ears of the Holy Office It is submitted to that tribunal They approve of it

king to ask him to give his support to her have a separate Province erected to manage the affairs of the Reform also to put Fr. Gratian at the head of it Teresa s views are rejected by the Order She goes

Teresa writes
to

to the

petition

Rome

to

through incessant

trials

...

400

CHAPTER XXIV
The new Foundation at Seville Teresa s brothers return to Spain Her interest in her family, and especially in Lorenzo and her niece Teresita Her tender affection for them At a general Chapter of the Order Teresa is commanded to give up making
any
is

to

fresh Foundations, and to choose one monastery where she remain for the rest of her life Her submission Her

letter to the

General of the Order She leaves Seville and visits Malagon and Avila on her way to Toledo, there to remain a
.

prisoner at the General s pleasure

...

425

CHAPTER XXV
Fr.

Tostado (the General s emissary) arrives from Rome and holds a Chapter of the Order of Carmel The practical, though not The ostensible, object of the Chapter is to crush the Reform resolutions passed by it are fatal to the aims and aspirations of
the discalced, as they now call themselves The priors belong ing to the minority hold a separate Chapter and protest The

Papal Nuncio alone supports the Reform Teresa s letters during the crisis Her perfect patience and confidence in God Calumnies are spread about Fr. Gratian Teresa writes again to Philip II Complains of the persecution and imprisonment of Fr. John of the Cross and Fr. Germain by the order of Fr. Tostado Philip obligees Tostado to renounce his powers delegated by the General of the Order The persecution, how Fr. Gratian remains in hiding Teresa writes ever, continues to him recommending- him, as far as possible, to submit and obey The Papal Nuncio dies, and is succeeded by Mgr. P.

CONTENTS
who is opposed to Teresa and the Reform The priors of the Reform hold a second Chapter, and contrary to Teresa s advice, who thought the moment inopportune, send delegates to
Sega,

xxix

Rome, where they are badly received

The Nuncio meanwhile,

furious at this disobedience to his orders, gives orders for the detention of Fr. Anthony and Fr. Mariano in two different
all their

monasteries, and deprives the various convents of the Reform of For the first time Teresa almost despairs privileges Our Lord consoles her She once more takes courage, writes

to all her convents to redouble their prayers

Appeals to the

general reaction takes place The Nuncio (found fault with by Philip) reconsiders the situation Fimdly, a second

king

appeal to

Rome

is

well received,
s

and the Pope agrees


:
.

to the

main object of

all

Teresa

aspirations

a separate Province,
439

under a provincial of the Reform

...

CHAPTER XXVI
Whilst the storm raged outside the monasteries of the Reform, perfect peace reigns inside All, like Avila, were paradises of
the Lord
at

Astounding act of charity practised by the infirmarian Malagon The superioress of Valladolid remarkable for her Heroism of endurance in a professed nun at Alba sanctity Teresa makes use of the time whilst kept a prisoner at
Toledo
Castle

Foundations She. also writes the Interior She burns the commentary she had written on the Canticle of Canticles in obedience to a remark of a priest Her letters of advice to superioresses She strongly recom mends discretion, as regards austerities Tells them to avoid
to finish her

a melancholy novice should sadness as the greatest evil always be rejected Teresa s maternal solicitude for the health of her daughters Her affliction at the troubles undergone by the convent at Seville
;
. .

...

466

CHAPTER XXYII
Teresa
s

work

for souls outside

the convent

Her

love for her

She directs her brother Lorenzo and controls his Her common sense She invites her brother to austerities Find thyself in Me," which write his reflections on these words, our Lord pronounced to her in prayer He consults their friends, and they all write and submit their ideas to Teresa Her commentary on their views Poem by Teresa Her letters, of which four hundred have been preserved Extracts from them Many priests and holy people come to her for advice
relations
"

486

xxx

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
CHAPTER
XXVIII

TERESA
PAGE

Teresa suffers tortures from a broken arm, which was badly set Her patience and joy in suffering- The four recommenda tions our Lord gives her for her communities The order which kept Teresa attached to one convent being- rescinded, she starts on a round of inspection of her convents, and visits in turn Avila (where she remains six months), Medina, Valladolid, Alba, and Salamanca She receives much consolation from the fervour and order which reign in all these communities She works a miracle on Anne of St. Bartholomew A community of nine Anchoresses desire to embrace the Rule of Carmel Teresa makes difficulties Our Lord speaks to her after Com munion and tells her to accept them Her edification at their holiness and th .-ir poverty Her brother Lorenzo s death A Foundation at P^lenciu- Great difficulties supervene Our Lord encourages Teresa and promises His support She has

much

consolation there

...

50;,

CHAPTER XXIX
A
Chapter
is

held of the Carmelites of the

Reform

to appoint a

provincial and discuss the Constitutions Teresa is applied to for her opinions She sends a very important memorandum on

the points specially to be dwelt upon in drawing up Constitu tions Fr. Gratian is appointed provincial, to Teresa s great joy The saint s gratitude to God that all her prayers have been

granted, e.g. the Reform being established on a solid foundation, and peace being made between the two branches of the Order of Mount Carmel, Mitigated and Reformed She hears that the convent at Avila requires her presence, and returns there to find great disorder prevailing She is elected prioress, and in a short time restores peace Teresa has trials with her own
relations

between Fr. Gratian and

Also anxieties with regard to differences of opinion Fr. Nicholas


.

...

526

CHAPTER XXX
The
She leaves Avila in January, aged bad health, and starts for Burgos Adventures on her journey She is nearly drowned Suffers from abscess in the throat Arrives there, and finds archbishop violently opposed to new monastery being started without endowment Generosity of Dona C. de Tolosa Teresa and her companions are lodged at a hospital Teresa denies herself everything to
sixty-seven, in
saint s last Foundation

CONTENTS
help the patients Visits them constantly, and softens their sufferings by her prayers and consoling- words She finds at last a house suitable for a monastery, and establishes her

xxxi
PAGE

community
carried

in

it

away

She writes the


.

great flood rises and the house is nearly last pages of her book on the
-

Foundations

...
.
.

544

CHAPTER XXXI
A summary
natural

and her character, natural and super Her fervour Her daily communions Her union with God Her astounding humility Her physical and mental Her lessons to her spiritual children sufferings
of Teresa s
life
.

563

CHAPTER XXXII
Teresa
severe letter to the superioress of Burgos in a wellnigh dying condition
s

Extracts from letters Goes to Valladolid and gives a beautiful exhortation to the community on leaving Arrives at Alba de
to

more vigorous

Granada She leaves Her soul was never to Mother Baptist and

Dona

Beatrix

Tormes, in the last extremity of weakness, on 2oth September She takes to her bed Endures the painful remedies recom mended by her doctors with the greatest patience On the 2nd of October she foretells her speedy death, and says her work is She receives Viaticum on the 3rd, and Extreme finished Unction the same night She rejoices at dying a child of the Church She asks her daughters to pray for her after her
death
soul to

appeared

Exquisite beauty of her face whilst dying Her cell like the ante-chamber of Heaven She gave up her
the 4th of October, 1582
.

God on

...

585

CHAPTER
The

XXXIII

The remains are disinterred saint s body is buried at Alba and removed to Avila Sixtus V orders the body to be brought back to Avila Miracles wrought by relics of the saint She appears to many Process of beatification and canonisation
.

605

INDEX

...

613

THE LIFE
OF SAINT TERESA
CHAPTER
day,
in the
1

Wednesday, March
first

28th,

1515,

my
five

daughter Teresa was born about half-past

morning with the

dawn

of day.

She was

baptized, having

for godfather
1

Vela Nunez, and for

godmother Dona Maria de These are the words


de Cepeda, in a
children
s history,

Aguila."

in

memorandum which

which Alonso Sanchez he drew up of his

acquaints us with the date of his

daughter s birth. Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda was descended on both his father and mother s side from two of those ancient Castilian families in which purity of faith and morals was transmitted with that of blood. His father num bered amongst his ancestors a king of Leon. His mother, Agnes de Cepeda, bore a name which was also one of the most distinguished in the kingdom of the two Castiles. She came of a branch of the Tordesillas a name honoured for its nobility," Ribera tells family, us, throughout Spain." John Sanchez and Agnes de Cepeda had four sons, Francis grandfather of the Ocampo family, of whom we shall hear more later
"

"

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

Alonso, after some Peter, Rodriguez, and Alonso. years of marriage with Catalina del Peso y Enao, was left a widower in the prime of life, with three youngchildren, at the age when they were most in need of He found a second mother for them a mother s care.
in the gentle

companion who was

to give birth to

our

saint, Beatriz

Davila de Ahumada.

Teresa, according to the Spanish custom, bore the of her mother, not of her father, and was called Teresa de Ahumada until the hour when she exchanged

name

Without for the immortal one of Teresa of Jesus. wandering into long digressions on the history of the Ahumada family, let us take one incident from its annals which doubtless was dearer to Teresa than the thought
it

of all her family glories.

The name Ahumada,


derived from the

says an ancient historian, was

word Aliumar, smoke.

tradition,

from ages so remote that the exact date of the incident is unknown, relates that the illustrious knight, Ferdi nand, head of the family, whilst fighting against the Moors, was besieged with his three sons in a tower

which he

held valiantly against the

infidel

troops.

The enemy, unable in spite of their number to over come the resistance of its brave defenders, set fire to the tower. God came to the protection of His ser
permitted that the smoke should en in an impenetrable darkness, which facilitated the escape of Ferdinand and his sons, so
vants,

and

velop the

Moors

that a heap of ruins

was

all

that

fell

into the

enemy

hands.

From that time the Castilians gave Ferdinand the name of Ahumada, and, by order of the King of
Castile, he and his descendants were given the right of quartering a tower on their arms surrounded with

flames.

This device, which had been

in

former days

TERESA

ANCESTORS

carved on the entrance of the house of Teresa s parents, is now to be seen on the entablature of the principal entrance of the chapel built on the spot of her birth
place.

collected by the learned researches Bollandists would allow of a much deeper insight into the genealogy of our saint, but she cuts us short herself by a remark such as we shall often have occasion to chronicle As we are all made of the

The documents
the

of

"

same clay, to dispute on nobility of birth is the same as to wrangle about whether one kind of clay or another was best fitted for making bricks or potsherds a fine
;

For my part, I am satisfied with question indeed being a daughter of the Church. A venial sin would be a greater cause of humiliation to me than that my origin was an ignoble one." Let it suffice, therefore, in deference to historic truth, to record the fact that Teresa s birth was no less illustrious than it was
!

Christian.

Providence had selected the spot of her birthplace with scarcely less care. Avila is built in the shape of an amphitheatre on a

which is fertile in spite of great rocks which crop on all parts of its surface. It is situated to the up south of Old Castile, on the picturesque bank of
soil

the Adaja, affluent of the Douro, in the midst of in numerable hillocks forming the westerly spurs of the Guadarrama mountains. Peak-shaped rocks to the south and north form a majestic framework to the
their harshness serves to bring out in more vivid contrast the blue waters of the river which bathes the foot of the cliffs to the westward. Fortified

and

town,

a French

by Raymond,

prince and companion of Henry of Bur in the eleventh century, gundy, during the Castilian Avila crusade, preserves to the present day the imposing walls which made her to the

impregnable

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


Her high
portals

Moors.

protected

by turrets, her

bastions, towers and portcullis must have, in the year 1515, told many a story of the doings of their ancestors
to the children

who lived in those days for the little like an outpost at the foot of the which stood city mountains had repulsed continual attacks made upon
;

it.

Celebrated for the bravery of

its

inhabitants,

of

men, it gained the name These loyal knights, faithful of Avila of the knights. to their king as to their God, gained from the former,
its

women

as well as of

its

in grateful recognition, the name of Avila of the King. last title which effaced both the previous ones fell to

Royal and knightly as it had ever been, Avila even more to heaven than it had done to country gave Saints multiplied within its precincts, and or prince. thus it became known as the holy city, and when the glory of Teresa had completed its own, Avila would brook no lower title than that of Avila of the saints." Avila cantos y santos was a popular saying in allusion to the rocky eminences which we have already men tioned Avila of the stones, and the saints. In this city Catholic before everything and with the blood of heroes in her veins, Teresa first saw The bells were ringing for Angelus daylight. one bell was heard above the rest, and possibly soothed the infant s slumbers from afar. It was that
its lot.
"

of the Carmelites.
to build the

Two years before, they had begun convent of the Incarnation. It had just been completed, and the community had chosen the 28th of March, eve of the feast of St. Berthold (first general of the Latin branch of the Carmelite order) to inaugurate their church by the first celebration of the
divine
bells announced this great inhabitants of Avila, and by a solemnity singular coincklence they rang out at the same time
sacrifice.

The

to

the

AVILA CANTOS Y SANTOS


the tidings

of the

birth of

the future
also
its

Reformer of
of
old,

Carmel.

The name

of Teresa had

glories

fame of the great saint who has eclipsed them. The holy companion of St. Paulinus of Nola appears first to have brought it to Spain. After her a sister of Alfonso, King of Leon, and a Queen of Portugal rendered it illustrious by
forgotten as they
are in the
their

now

virtues

the

Church venerates
first

their

memory.
is

history of the another record of

The

of

these two

princesses

the
;

brutality of the Moors more sublime than that

triumph of faith over the but it was of a triumph far


of

arms,

and of The choice of by love of virginity. Alonso and Beatriz of a patron saint for their child was therefore a wise one, and we gladly re
innocence over brute force,
invincible

was that of weakness made


it

cognize these incidents in the lives of the servants of God, which, though insignificant in themselves, seem to foreshadow their future greatness.

An elder sister and four little brothers were grouped round Teresa s cradle. Her mother was but twentyone years of age when she was born. Married at Doiia Beatriz we as have fifteen, had, already ob to take at herself the care of the once served, upon three orphan children bequeathed to Alonso by his first wife, and it is said of her that she made no distinction between her own children and those she had adopted before God s altar. Maria de Cepeda, the
eldest of the family,

responded

fully to her

stepmother

devotion, and the young mother soon found in her a prop and support in her many cares. The delicate

health

brought on by her maternal duties obliged Beatrice to devolve by degrees much of the govern ment of the house on her stepdaughter. She had six

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
after

TERESA
:

more children

giving birth to Teresa Lorenzo, Antonio, Pedro, Geronimo, Augustin, and Juana. Let us give a glance into this truly patriarchal home. Doubtless we shall hear the noise of children lively
;

and animation, especially at mo ments when play takes the place of work but we are conscious of a firm hand governing the little company. It was kept in order by the discipline of strict sub mission to parents, and by the "give and take" of
voices, great gaiety

a large

family

bound by a

tie

of

strong natural

affections.

Alonso de Cepeda was a second Jacob in incul cating virtuous habits on his children by his example, and guiding them by his wise counsels. If his stately height, his austere appearance and the dignity of his manner inspired the respect of the citizens of Avila, it is in the character of an affectionate father that we realize him best, and we know that, without losing

any part of his parental authority, he succeeded in making himself loved as well as obeyed. In Beatriz, his gentle helpmate, we see a Rachel in beauty and a Leah in fecundity, whilst in modesty she resembles both one and the other the olive plants growing up round
;

speak of God s blessing on their union. Teresa tells us that she can never thank God enough for such parents. would have been This," she says, to if I make me had been so wicked. not enough good
their table
"
"

My

father
;

books

was very much given to the reading of good and so he had them in Spanish that his children

might read them. ... It helped me too that I never saw my father and mother respect anything but good ness. They were very good themselves. My father was a man of great charity towards the poor and compassion for the sick, and also for servants, so much
so that he never could be persuaded to keep slaves, for

TERESA S PARENTS
he
to

pitied them so much, and a slave belonging one of his brothers being once in his house was treated by him with as much tenderness as one of his

own

He was a man of great truthfulness him swear or speak ill of anyone heard ever nobody his life was most pure. My mother also was a woman of great goodness, and her life was spent in great She was singularly pure in all her ways. infirmities. great beauty, yet was it never possessing Though known that she gave reason to suspect that she made any account whatever of it for though she was only three-and-thirty years of age when she
children.
. . . ; ; ;

died, her apparel already

vanced
sense.
life

in years.

was that of a woman ad She was very calm, and had great The sufferings she went through during her

were grievous, her death most Christian." can have no difficulty in guessing the education such a father and mother would give to their children. Alonso with his love of solid books doubtless imbued his family with his literary tastes. may safely conclude that he encouraged the develop

We

We

ment of his children s ideas, listened to their remarks, and to the impression made upon them by his favourite books many of which were eagerly devoured by them. Nor would he allow any purely frivolous occupation to absorb their time. Worldly concerns being thus kept at arm s length peace reigned in the home. The Church s feasts in honour of God and His saints were those most highly honoured in this family, its canticles were their songs, and for dances they had the joyous

games

of the children.

Dona

Beatriz took a large

share in the important work of directing the early Her love for them and the education of her family.

grace of the maternal vocation gave her the key to their hearts. She had no difficulty in teaching them to

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

pray who prayed so well herself; or to inspire them with her own love for our Lady, for the angels and the saints. The robust faith, the austere virtues of the father, the tender devotion and gentle goodness of the mother seemed to belong to their children by divine all in mind and heart took right of inheritance after their parents. Teresa is our authority for this statement, and she adds, "all with the exception of
;

myself."

Naturally there were differences of character in so we can distinguish them even at this distance of time. In Maria de Cepeda, the eldest sister, we recognize the reasonable woman, possibly only too grave in manner, but sweet and calm and given up to her duties with a precocious wisdom semimaternal. The brothers are distinguished by their chivalrous tastes to an extent which causes little With hardly an ex surprise in the sons of Avila. ception they will take to the Army, and seek the glory in a New World which in the preceding century they

numerous a family

would have acquired beside the walls


their
birth.

of the city of

In

the

meantime, whilst awaiting the

the exploits they already see youthful imaginations doubtless they exer cise themselves in passages of arms, and their recrea tions are spent in mimic tournaments. What becomes of Teresa in these days? For it is with her, in the midst of this family group, of which she is the pearl and centre, that we are most concerned. At the time we speak of she is scarcely seven years of age. Her first studies chosen, directed by her father have already made a deep impression on her mind. Her mother has taught her to pray, and if her brothers and sisters have likewise come under the sweet influence of maternal piety, upon not one of them has
in their

battle-fields of the future

HER YOUTHFUL PIETY


to

such an impression been made as upon her. She is eager hear Dona Beatriz speak of Heaven, of our Lord, Her child s heart has and of the Blessed Virgin. is later on to take entire which the love to opened possession of it though so young she willingly sacri fices the pleasures which belong to her years, and appear natural to them, in order to give herself up Sometimes she takes her mother s to God s service. beads from her hands and recites them with her.
;

already so thoughtful, and the preternaturally wise, lingers over the words of "Our Father" which she is afterwards to comment And our Divine upon in such eloquent words. Saviour, who loves to attract children to His feet and takes pleasure in their coming to Him, encourages her
Possibly the child

who

is

fervours by ever-increasing graces and blessings. Teresa, in spite of her affection for her family, now goes in search of solitude. She hides herself in the most remote parts of the garden, where for a short time she can remain undisturbed, united to her God
first

she loves so much that she would fain know Him This youthful better in order to love Him more. fervour, far from making her sad and morose, does but add to the charm of her character and that delight ful simplicity which endears her so much to her parents. She gives gladly all that she possesses: her alms to the

whom

poor, kind words and deeds to neighbours and servants, But young to her family her deepest affections. as she was she had already begun to find that all were

and

not capable of understanding the secrets of her heart. Moreover, there are thoughts so intimate that they can be only breathed low into one ear, that of a loved con

Teresa found this intimate friend in one of her brothers who was four years older than herself, and for whom she had a special affection.
fidant.

io
"

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


I,"

He and she says, "used to read the lives of saints together. I read of martyrdom under gone by the saints for the love of God, it struck me that the vision of God was very cheaply purchased by it,

When

and
of

I had a great desire to die a martyr s death, not out any love of Him of which I was conscious, but that I might the more quickly attain to the fruition of those great joys of which I read that they were reserved for

Heaven."

character shows itself in every line of this see her childish ardour, and the courage no difficulty could daunt. She communicates her long
s
;

Teresa

narrative

we

ings to Rodriguez, and the two children deliberate together how they can soonest carry out their inten tions. "We settled," she says, "to go together to the country of the Moors, begging our way there for the love of God, that we might be beheaded there and I believe our Lord would have given us courage enough, even at that tender age, if we could have found the means to proceed. But our greatest difficulty seemed to be our father and mother."
;

Teresa overcomes this obstacle, which from every little less than insurmountable, by desires which became daily more ardent to see God. Would not she doubtless thought the glory of their martyrdom cast a reflected halo over their parents which would console them for their loss, and very soon
point of view was

be re-united in paradise? What, indeed, are the sacrifices, the separations, the tears shed here below in comparison with eternity? It astonished us greatly to find it said in the books we read that pain and bliss were everlasting.
"

would they not

We

frequently talked about this, and we took pleasure in repeating, for ever, ever, ever Through the con stant uttering of these words our Lord was pleased
!

SHE GOES
that
I

IN

SEARCH OF MARTYRDOM n
child."

should receive an abiding impression of the way

of truth

when

was yet a
to

carry out the plan without Finally they agreed further delay. One morning at the earliest dawn of day brother and sister slipped quietly out of the
paternal abode. They proceeded on their way, pro as to they went along, taking some pieces posing beg of bread only with them for all provision for their But God had other de grand journey to Paradise
!

signs youthful pilgrims, and their loving not permitted to take them much was impetuosity the When they had got a beyond gates of Avila. short way outside the town and were rapidly crossing the bridge over the Adaja, they fell into the arms of

on

our

one of their uncles who was returning from the country, and who soon brought the fugitives back to their mother, who, already much alarmed, was searching for them far and wide. Needless to say they were \vell
la nifia scolded; Rodriguez, in excuse, pleads that had overpersuaded him." Teresa, appealed to for her justification, answers with a frankness which was to ran away be her characteristic to her dying day. because I wanted to see God, and one cannot do that without first dying." Doubtless there was an interior joy in the heart of the mother mingled with her displeasure, though she allowed the latter only to be seen. She recognized the treasure God had confided to her care in this ardent
"

"I

child so full of faith

and so prompt
s

to carry into action

the loving

impulses of her heart.

Accordingly she

explained to Teresa

was
easy

inexperience, that the reward she in such haste to gain was not to be won in the

way she dreamt

service.
self for

of, but by a life spent in God s Teresa had some difficulty in consoling her the loss of a happiness which she had thought

12

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

almost within her grasp. But, as it seemed that the martyrs were not open to imitation, she set her mind to work at another form of sanctity, and again in con cert with Rodriguez, she proposed that they should become hermits. The garden attached to their home was to be their Thebaid. Thus the brother and sister set to work to build themselves hermitages by piling little stones one upon the other," she tells us in her
"

life,

"which

pass that
wish."

fell down immediately, and so it came to we found no means of accomplishing our

herself

Teresa, grieved but not discouraged, consoled by offering up her ardent desires to God, and

understands by these failures that she is to seek Him under the guidance of her excellent parents. She redoubles her fervour, and strives to do still better the little that is given her to do. To quote her words, of these Even now I have a speaking youthful days of devotion when I consider how God gave me feeling
"

what I afterwards lost by my own alms when I could and I could but gave I contrived to be alone for the sake of little. saying my prayers and they were many especially the rosary, to which my mother had a great devotion, and had made us also in this like herself. I used
in

my

early youth
I

fault.

to delight exceedingly when playing with other children in the building of convents as if we were nuns and I think I wished to be a nun, though not so much as I did to be a martyr or a hermit."
;

Thus passed this touching and beautiful childhood. to sum up its most prominent qualities, they would be but a description of what we shall see later

Were we
in

on

Teresa

character as

exemplified in her

life.

Already the

germs

of her vivid faith, her ardent love,

her tenderness of heart, and her strong generous will are visible; all these characteristics we shall find again,

TERESA S CHILDHOOD
fully developed, in the history of the great saint.

13

Per

haps we have lingered too long over the early scenes of the dawn of a life which has so much stronger claims
at a later period to

our admiration.

But, apart from

the

charm wondrous
"It

of Teresa s early life, it seems to us that the facts which are to follow require an attentive

examination of the minutest ones which preceded them. is a pleasing task," says an ancient writer, "after contemplating a great river to trace back its waters to
their
source."

We

find
;

a similar

satisfaction

in

this

budding

in these first outpourings of grace in the sanctity heart of a little child, and in the appeals to Teresa,

from the Divine lover of her them.

soul,

and her response

to

CHAPTER
definite
is

II

was not usual in those days for the Church to accompany that great act with an out ward observance customary in these. Children were
It

Communion. NOTHING

known about Teresa

s first

prepared for

it

either in the seclusion

of their

own

convent or monastery, and the father and mother and brothers and sisters were alone witnesses of the joys and fervour of that day of benedic tion. can at best conjecture, in the absence of precise information, that it was at the church of St. John where our saint had already received the Sacrament of Baptism, that her young heart was united with un

families, or in a

We

speakable delight and consolation to Him whom she had before gone forth to seek in the country of the Moors. Teresa s first Communion was possibly her mother s last joy on earth. Dona Beatriz, who had long suffered from premature disease and infirmity, died in the
year
1528, leaving to her nine orphaned children, besides a great sorrow, the memory of a spotless life,
"I

of much patience and holiness. Teresa went in my deeply the extent of her loss. to an image of our Lady, and affliction," she writes, with many tears implored her to be my mother. I did
felt
"

and an example

and I believe that it was of service have by experience found that she has helped me whenever I recommended myself to her and at last she has brought me back to herself."
this in

my simplicity,
for
I

to

me

14

TERESA LOSES HER MOTHER


She was

15

Teresa had great need of help from our blessed Lady. left an orphan at the age when the inexperienced

heart of a

young

girl requires all the vigilant care


it

and

solicitude of a

a mother s aright. invite to to at this confidence, guess the newly part, age formed ideas passing through her child s brain, and to respond by her maternal affection to the cravings of the

mother to guide

It is

child s heart.

The more ardent

the character of the

young girl, the richer and more spontaneous her nature, so much the more necessary will it be for the mother to display both prudence and resolution in giving a right direction to her child s desires and
It was at this critical time one which a decides character life that God s for frequently girl chose for depriving Teresa of Dona Beatriz s love and good counsels. Let us adore the designs of His

aspirations.

Providence. God may have intended, by taking away from our saint the prop on which she leant, and letting her fall into defects which were to be a cause of life long mourning to her, to dig still deeper the founda tions of His great work in her soul, by thus planting them on the bed-rock of humility and repentance. Teresa was at this time thirteen years of age. She was tall and well developed, and her beauty was
already beginning to attract attention in her native town. Her forehead w as large and high, and crowned with black tresses her pale and colourless complexion was marked on the left side of her face by three small dimples which added to its attraction whilst a candid smile playing frequently on her lips allowed her beautiful teeth to be seen. Her eyes were of medium size and set rather deep in her head they were black and very bright and expressive her figure was supple, her hands long and well formed, her walk dignified and graceful an innate distinction which her education
r

16

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

had developed, a nobility of manner which she had in herited from her father, an amiability which recalled her mother such were her characteristics as reported When she spoke," remarks by her contemporaries. one of them, "nothing could exceed the charm and From the first it was vivacity of her conversation." de Ahumada would Teresa that Dofia prognosticated be no ordinary person. Surely a young girl with such gifts was exposed to more than ordinary perils Before her mother s death Teresa had already opened a door to the temptations by which she was afterwards
1
"

will allow her to tell the story of her errors in her own words. Speaking of her mother, she says: "She was very fond of books of chivalry; but this pastime did not hurt her so much as it hurt me, because she never wasted her time on them only we, her children, were left at liberty to read them; and per haps she did this to distract her thoughts from her great sufferings and occupy her children that they might not go astray in other ways. It annoyed my father so much that we had to be careful he never saw and I contracted a habit of reading these books us. this little fault which I observed in my mother was the beginning of lukewarmness in my good desires and the I occasion of my falling away in other respects.
; ;

to be assailed.

We

thought there was no harm in it when I wasted many hours night and day in so vain an occupation, even when I kept it a secret from my father. So completely was I mastered by this passion that I thought I could
never be happy without a new book." What kind of books were these of which Teresa

speaks?

Books were

still

rare at the beginning of the

Those best known were doubtless sixteenth century. the Old and New Testament, the works of the Fathers,
1

Yepcs, Ribcra, Hisiory of the Carmelites.

HER LOVE OF ROMANCES


;

17

the lives of saints, and a few similar productions of a moral or spiritual tendency these were the choice of grave and well-balanced minds. But the greater number of people, who ask, as Teresa reminds us, for recreation and amusement in what they read, found these qualities more readily in romances in which the

mingled with senti of, frequently, a very dangerous Dona Beatriz probably selected for her character. own reading, and still more for that of her children, those histories which were least objectionable. Never
mental adventures
theless, the judgment St. Francis of Sales pronounces on balls might be applied with equal truth to

exploits of knights errant were

romances:

"

them
for

as with

Believe me, Philothea, it is the case with mushrooms, the best of them are good
for reading of

nothing."
"passion"

The
had no

evil

results with her whilst the

which Teresa speaks mother was

there to watch over her child.

gentle gravity of attire, and unworldliness, held out a living example to Teresa s soul which spoke more vividly to it than any folly derived from imaginary heroes or heroines. But no sooner was she

The

Dona

Beatriz,

her modesty of

left an orphan than, in spite of the confidence with which we have seen her throw herself into the arms of Mary, our saint felt the effects of her imprudence. We will take the touching avowal of her faults from her own words. But before opening those tear-stained

pages (similar to those we read in the Confessions of Augustine] it will be as well to point out the sense in which we should accept them. Are we right in drawing the conclusion from Teresa s words that she was a great sinner? If we were required to make this admission in the interests of truth, we should do so without the smallest fear of dimming the
St.

i8

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

Do Magdalen s sins, halo which encircles her name. the errors and falls of Augustine to which we have just alluded, take away any portion of their glory?
if

Would they, possibly, not even have loved so much so many sins had not been forgiven them ? With

the parable of the debts remitted before our eyes we are inclined to doubt it. Sanctity shows itself under a thousand different forms, and thus in writing the life of our saint we are not going in search of a kind whose beauty we may think suitable to her our object
;

What rather to recognize that which is truly hers. that was the Church s judgment does not leave us for
is

moment

in

doubt. 1

Teresa,

when

quitting the world

age of sixty-seven, took with her to Heaven an angelic purity of body and soul which she had pre
at the
If in served intact from her childhood till her death. her profound humility she makes the most, in her life, of the faults she had committed, never had she sinned She had faithfully preserved the nuptial grievously. robe of innocence which she received in baptism our Saviour found a virginal and spotless heart in the spouse He had chosen in order to make of her a victim How then is it possible that Teresa of His love. should have been thus self-deceived? Her candour would surely not permit of her feigning, out of humility, a horror of self such as there was no cause are conscious in these con for her experiencing ? fessions of a sorrow-laden heart, of anguish, and repentance which love of God renders wellnigh in
;

We

Why

consolable, of outpourings which come from the very depths of the soul, leaving it torn and transfixed. such anguish for a few trifling faults? Later
:

on we hope to clear up this mystery. Meanwhile we would call attention to one fact Teresa did not write
1

See Acts of Canonisation of

St.

Teresa (Boll., 1241)-

SHE DESCRIBES HER LIFE AT FOURTEEN

19

the history of her life, with all its faults, till after she had seen in vision our Lord and His angels, and had

been given a glimpse of the glories of Heaven. Now let us hear her speak u I am filled with sorrow whenever I think of the good desires with which our Lord inspired me, and what a wretched use I made of them. O my Lord, since Thou art determined to save me may it be the pleasure of Thy Majesty to effect it and to bestow on me so many graces, why has it not been Thy pleasure also, not for my advan tage but for Thy greater honour, that this habitation in which Thou hast continually to dwell should have contracted so much defilement? It distresses me even to say this, O my Lord, because I know the fault is
: !

all

my own, seeing Thou hast left nothing undone to make me, even from my youth, wholly Thine. When
I I

would complain of my parents I cannot do it, for saw nothing in them but good and carefulness for my welfare. Then, growing up, I began to discover the natural gifts which our Lord had given me they were said to be many and when I should have given Him thanks for them, I made use of every one of them,
;

as
to

I shall now explain, make much of dress,

to offend
to

Him. ...

wish

to please others

began by my

appearance. I took pains with my hands, and my hair, used perfumes, and all vanities within my reach and they were many, for I was very much given to them. I had no evil intention, for I never wished any one to offend God for me. This fastidiousness of excessive neatness lasted some years and so also did other practices which I thought then were not at all sinful
; :

now I see how wrong all this must have been. I had some cousins, for no others were allowed an entrance
into

my

father s house.
to

and would

God

In this he was very cautious he had been as cautious about


;

20
!

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

them for I see now the danger of conversing at an age when virtue should begin to grow, with persons who, knowing nothing themselves of the vanity of the world, provoke others to throw themselves into the midst of it. These cousins were nearly of mine own We were always to age a little older, perhaps. In gether, and they had a great affection for me. I the con kept everything that gave them pleasure
versation alive, listened to the stories of their affections and childish follies all good-for-nothing and what was still worse, my soul began to give itself up to that
;

which was the cause of

all

its

disorders.

If

were

to give advice, I should say to parents that they ought to be very careful whom they allow to mix with their

mischief thence ensues, are for evil rather than for and our natural inclinations I had a sister much for with me good. So it was
children
;

when young

for

much
;

older than myself, from whose modesty and goodness I learned nothing and learned every evil from a relative who was often in the house. She was solight and frivolous
that

my

mother took great pains

to
I

house, as if her, but she could not succeed, there being so many I was very fond of this reasons for her coming. person s company, and talked and gossiped with her for she helped me in all the amusements I liked, and
;

she foresaw the evil

keep her out of the should learn from

more, found some for me, and communicated Until I to me her own conversations and vanities. with knew her, I mean until she became friendly me, and communicated to me her own affairs I was then I do not fourteen years of age, a little more I think mortal in God that I turned from believe sin, or away

what

is

lost the fear of

Him, though
latter fear

disgrace.
I

This

never wholly forfeited

I had a greater fear of had such sway over me that my good name and as to that

TERESA
there

FRIENDSHIPS
I
I

21

was nothing in the world for which bartered it, and nobody in the world

would have
liked

well

enough who could have persuaded me to do it. Thus I might have had the strength never to do anything against the honour of God, as I had it by nature not to fail in that wherein I thought the honour of the world consisted, and I never observed that I was failing in
In vainly seeking after it I was other ways. in the use of the means necessary but extremely careful,

many

I was anxious preserving it I was utterly careless. to be lost not This only altogether. friendship dis tressed my father and sister exceedingly. They often blamed me for it but as they could not hinder that person from coming into the house, all their efforts were in vain for I was very adroit in doing anything

for

was wrong. Sometimes I am amazed at the evil one bad companion can do nor could I believe it if I did not know it by experience especially when we are young then is it that the evil is the greatest. Oh that parents would take warning by me, and look So it was the conversation of this carefully to this so person changed me, that no trace was left of my soul s natural disposition to virtue, and I became a reflection of her, and of another who was given to the same kind of amusements.
that
; !
;

this the great advantage of good com and I am certain if at that tender age I had panions been thrown among good people I should have for if at that time I had found persevered in virtue to teach me the fear of God, my soul would anyone have grown strong enough not to fall away. After wards, when the fear of God had utterly departed from me, the fear of dishonour alone remained, and was
"

know from
;

a torment to

me

in all

did.
I

nobody would ever know,

When I thought that ventured on things that

22

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

were neither honourable nor pleasing unto God. In the beginning these conversations did me harm. I believe The fault was perhaps not hers, but mine for so. afterwards my own wickedness was enough to lead me astray, together with the servants about me, whom I found ready enough for evil. If any one of these had given me good advice, I might perhaps have profited by it but they were blinded by interest as I was by
;
;

for Still I was never inclined to much evil hated naturally anything dishonourable but only to The occa the amusement of a pleasant conversation. sion of sin, however, being present, danger was at hand, and I exposed to it my father and brothers. God delivered me out of it all, so that I should not

passion.
I

be

lost."

We
full,

make a
it

leaving

to her to

the

natural style. charm of her personality, the strong and ener getic character with which God had endowed her, shows itself in every line, in spite of the efforts she

point of giving Teresa s confession in word it in her own simple and She accuses herself of her faults, but

makes

how

see also to bring out only her defects. her kindness of heart wins the affection of all

We

around her. A dangerous ascendency for one who would exercise it for selfish ends, instead of in God s
service, but a
It is

power nothing short of apostolic when

used with that object.

we may represent to ourselves Teresa fourteen. She is for the moment forget of age ful of the aspirations of her childhood, and the graces she had received, and carried away by the charm of
thus that
at the

loving and being loved. The knowledge gained by the books she has imprudently read, the flattery of the world, the admiration excited by her beauty and charm in those around her, the innocent but too ardent aiiec-

THE PERILS SHE ENCOUNTERS


tion
;

23

shown her by her cousins, above all the influence her of frivolous friends, all contribute to blind her fervour is stifled, and the grave thoughts on which her
childhood lose their hold upon no longer the object of her the which was to follow martyr nor Paradise desires, dom her thoughts turn upon personal adornment, and upon pleasures and entertainments. What she now asks of life are its earthly joys. The perils to which Teresa was exposed at this time of her life were undoubtedly great. Childlike, she a careless at the an into which of played edge abyss at have moment footstep might any precipitated her. her combined her orphan isola Everything against tion father nor sister could take a (for neither mother s place), the charm of her brilliant youth, her glowing and expressive countenance, the ardour of
in
is
; :

mind had dwelt her. Martyrdom

her imagination fed upon the thrilling diet of tales of knightly adventure, and the flattery of the little court which had formed itself round her, of which she

was the acknowledged queen

Rodriguez, her pious brother, who had been the con fidant of her past fervours, followed her still, but by a

His sympathies were now enlisted very different path. in her studies of romances, and Teresa (to whom he was still dearer than her other brothers and sisters), persuading him to act as her secretary, they composed together a romance in the approved style of the day. This tale had, at once, a great success amongst Teresa s friends and admirers. Naturally it shared the defects of the class of literature to which it belonged, but the young girl s talents found such scope for them in a work of imagination, that she now added to her other attrac tions that of a claim to literary distinction. have no difficulty therefore in realizing the adulation with

We

24

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
;

TERESA

which

it was greeted thus every came more dangerous.

clay her situation be

yet, in spite of the pitfalls by which she was surrounded, Teresa escaped with the bloom of her innocence upon her. Mary watched over the child who had thrown herself, as it were, into her arms, and asked her to take the place of a mother to her. For can we believe that Teresa would have found a sufficiently solid rampart in her natural inclination towards good

And

which belonged to her race and nation, her sense of honour, without a very special grace from Heaven? Assuredly not. What strength would a girl of fifteen get from such motives as pride, natural virtue, regard for her good name, to oppose to forces such as we have seen arrayed against her a current which every moment threatened to carry her away? God, by the interposition of His divine Providence,
ness, the pride

Her fervour, safeguarded Teresa through this trial. however, suffered serious loss, and Don Alonso noticed with inward misgiving that his beloved child
neglected her prayers, and left off frequenting the churches, whilst she multiplied her pleasures and amuse ments. Another, and an even more sharp-sighted because it was that of a woman a less indulgent eye and yet a kindly one too that of her eldest sister, Maria de Cepeda, was directed upon Teresa. Maria, ever since the death of her stepmother, fulfilled the double duty of mistress of the house and of mother with equal wisdom and firmness. In this twofold and actuated a Christian capacity, by deeply spirit, she longed to banish the germs of worldliness which had found entrance into the home, and to induce Teresa to change her way of life. It was necessary to take a decisive step, and Maria, perceiving this, did not
hesitate, after taking the preliminary steps of offering

SHE
advice,
sort to
it.

IS

SENT TO A CONVENT

25
to re

and even administering gentle rebukes

Circumstances lent themselves to a change. Maria was about to be married to an excellent and well born gentleman of Castellanos of the name of Martino de Guzman Barrientos. Alonso, in concert with his eldest daughter, therefore took occasion of this event to send Teresa away from home. The sacrifice was a severe one to the father s tender heart, for Teresa was the joy, the sunshine of his house. But to remain alone with her brothers (the little Juana being her only female companion) was impossible above all, it was an occasion to break with the bad habits of which we have spoken. It was settled accordingly that Teresa should become a boarder at the convent of the
;

It was but a Augustinians of Our Lady of Grace. short period three months which our saint had given up to these great vanities," as she was later on to call them. l Three months, however, sufficed to weary
"

Ac pleasures unworthy of her character. cordingly her father and sister s wishes not only found her submissive, but ready to fall in with all the arrange ments they had made for her. Nothing was said till the
her of
last

moment

bably gave
friends

when carried out, pro some gossip amongst Teresa s and relations. Maria de Cepeda s marriage
of a plan which,
to
rise
;

was no sooner celebrated than Teresa quietly dis appeared from their midst and Don Alonso gave her into the hands of the Augustinian Canonesses, re

commending her
he possessed.
1

to their care as the greatest treasure

Teresa adds these words, which arc

sufficiently explicit

Infonnada

dc con quicn me confesaba no iba contra Dios,

dc ofras personas en -aiuchas cosas

me dcccan

CHAPTER

III

THE

1508 on the

Monastery of Our Lady of Grace, built in site of an ancient mosque, enjoyed a

deserved reputation in Avila for sanctity. The highest families in the city confided their daughters to the Canonesses, in cases when domestic difficulties inter fered with a home bringing-up, which, always pre
ferable to
faith.

any other, was especially so in those ages of community of forty nuns divided between them the duties required by the education of their pupils and the exercises of religious life. Everything

in this holy retreat

of the religious,

and the recent direction of a

the regular observance, the fervour saint 1

contributed to render it worthy of the mission which Providence had confided to it of completing Teresa s training and education.

The

first

few days must have appeared somewhat

dreary young schoolgirl. Accustomed to the sweetness of home-life and the free use of her own time, and having had three months of constant change and distraction, she probably looked upon the convent The grille almost in the light of the bars of a prison.
to the

convent, in addition to the yoke of obedience, the uniformity of life and recollection of the nuns, all contributed to surround her with an atmo sphere of peace which was almost like that of the grave. It was then that her conscience awoke, and no sooner had she emerged from the toils in which her friends
1

silence

of the

St.

Peter of Alcantara.

26

TERESA S SCHOOL-LIFE

27

had held her captive than she saw her past faults, and exaggerating them she became uneasy, alarmed, and not content with a first confession a humble avowal
her forgiveness she This herself again. time of anguish was not of long duration. God per mitted it in order that the break with the past might be the more entire and complete, but a weak scrupulosity was impossible to one of Teresa s innate sincerity and After eight days of interior suffering just judgment. her conscience resumed its tranquillity, and she soon succumbed to the charm of a convent life from the
of her faults

having obtained

desires to be allowed to

humble

had she tells us, "for," schoolgirl point of view then only a feeling of dread and dislike to the religious
"I
;

But if the prospect of tying herself down for life narrow circle bound by strict rules offered her no attraction, she found it pleasant to sojourn for a time, away from worldly noise and distraction, in the com pany of these holy and peaceful nuns. The calm which at first had alarmed her and the silence which had wearied her were both now a source of pleasure to her,
life."

in a

to her

for they allowed her to give herself thoughts and studies.

up more completely

Maria Briceno, a religious of singular merit, occupied Her insight the position of first mistress in the school. into character soon showed her the treasure hidden in the

new pupil. She lavished upon her a care and solicitude which Teresa responded to by giving her a large share in her affections and confidence. Teresa s heart having been gained, nothing more was
soul of the

necessary than to let her follow its inspirations. She attached herself to Maria Briceno in the same way as she had previously attached herself to her cousin, seek ing her company, and every opportunity of talking to her and as Maria Briceno was not only a superior
;

28

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


but a very holy one, her influence over Teresa

woman
was

as salutary as that of the other woman had been will learn from Teresa s own words disastrous.

We

how
"

this transformation

was

effected

of the nuns slept with us who were seculars, and through her it pleased our Lord to give me light, as I shall now explain. I began gradually to like the

One

good and holy conversation


used to speak of
discretion
I

of this nun.

How well she

God

for she
I

was a person of great

and

sanctity.

think there never was a time

listened to her with delight. when I was not glad to

listen to her. to be a

She began by telling me how she came nun through the mere reading of the words of
are called, but few are chosen. of the reward which our Lord gives forsake all for His sake. This good com

the Gospel.
to those

Many

She would speak

who

panionship began to root out the habits which bad companionship had formed, and to bring my thoughts back to the desire of eternal things as well as to banish in some measure the great dislike I had to be a nun, which had been very great, and if I saw anyone weep in prayer, or devout in any other way, I envied her very much, for my heart was now so hard that I could not shed a tear, even if I read the Psalms through. This was a grief to me. I remained in the convent a
I year and a half and was very much the better for it. began to say many vocal prayers, and to ask all the

to pray for me, that God would place me in that wherein I was to serve Him; but for all this I wished not to be a nun, and that God would not be pleased I should be one, though at the same time I was afraid of marriage. At the end of my stay there I had a greater inclination to be a nun, yet not there, on account of certain devotional practices which I under stood prevailed there and which I thought overstrained.

nuns

state

SHE FALLS INTO BAD HEALTH

20

Some of the younger ones encouraged me in this my wish, and if all had been of one mind I might have I had also a great friend in another profited by it.
monastery, and this made me resolve, if I was to be a nun, not to be one in any other house than where she was. I then looked more to the pleasure of sense and These good vanity than to the good of my soul. thoughts of being a nun came to me from time to time. They left me very soon, and I could not persuade

myself to become one.


careless about

At

this time,

though

was not

my own
me

good, our Lord was


for that state of life

much more
which was

careful to dispose best for me."

After having been a year and a half at the convent Teresa was attacked by a serious illness, which was the cause of her having to leave it. This illness was the beginning of the constant sufferings which she was to endure with cheerful resignation for the space of fifty Teresa was then sixteen and a half years of years. She returned to the paternal roof sobered by a age. solid education, her taste for frivolous pleasures gone, pious enough even to satisfy her excellent father, and as amiable, bright, and ardent in mind and heart as ever. Don Alonso, overjoyed to get his beloved child home again, devoted himself to the restoration of her health and to hasten her convalescence took her, himself, to stay with her sister Maria de Cepeda, now the wife of Don Marti no Guzman, at their country house at Castellan os. Teresa enjoyed greatly the beautiful scenery and
;

country
in

her health gained by being and her sister s affection for her air, created an atmosphere around her which seemed almost too pleasant to last. Teresa says of Maria: "Her love for me was so great that if she had had her will I
life

at Castellanos

the

fresh

30

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


left

should never have

her.

Her husband

also

had a

great affection for me, at least he showed me all kind ness. This too I owe rather to our Lord, for I have
received kindness everywhere, and all my service in return is that I am what I am." The sisters had at last to part, Don Alonso not wishing to be a second

On their time deprived of his daughter s society. return journey Teresa and her father stopped for a time at Hortigosa, a place about four leagues out of Avila, where Pedro Sanchez, a brother of Don Don Pedro was very desirous of keep Alonso, lived. ing his niece with him a little while, so that Don Alonso having to hurry home on business of import ance consented, finally, to leave his daughter with her uncle for a few weeks whilst he returned to Avila.
What were these important affairs? Probably they were connected with the grave paternal anxieties which must have preoccupied Don Alonso s mind at this time. We know that Rodriguez, Teresa s beloved
brother, solicited his father s leave to join the troops of Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru, and that Don Alonso allowed him to go with his elder brother

Hernando. These two brothers by their brilliant success as soldiers were to pave the way in that career for their younger brothers, nearly all of whom were to follow in their footsteps. Rodriguez before
leaving Spain drew up a will in Teresa s favour by which she was to inherit all he possessed, as well as
his rights to the paternal succession. regret that our saint should not have related the story of their

We

farewells,

when parting

for

what was

to

be a

life

know, however, that her heart was ever faithful to her dear Rodriguez that she sustained him during life by constant prayers, and never ceased honouring him as a martyr when the
long separation.
;

We

HER
brave

LIFE AT

HORTIGOSA

31

young man

died a glorious death at Rio de la

Plata, because, as she believed, he died in the cause of the Faith.

Whilst Rodriguez pursued the dream of his youth


across the ocean, Teresa, unknown to him, was pre paring to realize the same dream in a very different

manner

at

home.
left

Don Alonso had

Teresa at Hortigosa

in

his

The life of this venerable old man brother s house. ever since he became a widower had been spent
in study and prayer. Our saint, though now very pious, still enjoyed the innocent pleasures of life, so that she found the contrast between the solitude and

mortified life led by her uncle and the happy days she had been spending with her sister exceedingly trying. His only conversation was upon the greatness of God and the vanity of earthly things; all his time was employed in studying the works of the Fathers or
the mystic treatises of contemporaneous authors. He used to beg of Teresa to be his reader. Though,"
"

as she tells

us in her Life,

"

did not

much

like

them,

yet I appeared as if I did, for in giving pleasure to others I have been most particular, though it might be

painful to myself, so much so that what in others might have been a virtue was in me a great fault, because I

extremely indiscreet." Teresa s desire to give pleasure was on this occasion amply rewarded. For she had not read Don Pedro s books long before she succumbed to the attraction of a literature which she had so long abandoned. Though Maria Briceno s influence had been exerted with the happiest results in bringing Teresa back to her former practices of piety, she had not been equally successful in inspiring her with a taste for spiritual reading. The rosary was her favourite form of prayer

\vas often

32
at

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
rilled

TERESA

her life, and that and a number of the hours she reserved for her prayers This was not enough for the exercises of devotion. wants of Teresa s soul, and her aged uncle had the consolation of putting her on another and a more satis factory path. Thirty years later our saint made use
this period of

vocal

of these

words
all

in a transport of gratitude:

"I

thank

God

with

my
to

soul (and

all

women and

ignorant

Him without join in thanking with that men have been found who, by me) ceasing, dint of labour, have fought their way to the truth, and
people

ought

have enriched us with their treasures. I have often reflected with astonishment how much the pursuit of knowledge has cost these learned men, whilst for our part we have only to interrogate them to share in all their wisdom. And there are people who do not take Please God that may the trouble even to profit by it.
not be the case with
us."

Teresa preserved all her life a great love for true knowledge and wisdom, as exemplified in the works of Later on we shall be the great doctors of the Church. fact. of this Meanwhile, we can given frequent proofs
picture her to ourselves in the garden of Hortigosa reading, and leisurely enjoying the epistles of St.

Jerome, St. Gregory s Morals, and the treatises of Her uncle, delighted with the interest St. Augustine. his young reader, makes comments on displayed by Thus the fascinat the finest passages of these works. the conversations s of saint scenes our childhood, ing of Rodriguez and his little sister, are renewed between the old man and his niece the elder already with one foot in the grave, at the decline of a well-spent life,
perfected by a great sorrow the younger at the dawn of a life which seemed to announce a bright and joyous future. The eyes of both are fixed on one
;

HER VOCATION
object
:

33
the

and that
its

is
;

Paradise.

They contemplate
it

nothingness of
with
all

life

the rapidity with which

passes,
for,

vanities.

Eternal

life

is

all

they ask

are they to attain to it? Which is the most direct road to Heaven? This is not the first or desire.

How

time this problem had presented itself to Teresa, and we know the ready solution of it in the mind of the would-be martyr of seven years but now another is put before her which will test her courage to the utmost, nor will she accept it without long and severe mental struggle. To offer to God the sacrifice of her life, and thus at the cost of a few hours agony to gain an eternal crown seemed to the ardent imagination of the child an easy But to matter, the exchange a wholly desirable one. make the same sacrifice by a daily immolation of self, and to continue the work without pause or relaxation, year after year for the rest of her life, was a fate so distasteful to Teresa that it took her three months of inward conflict before she could force her will to
;

make it. The first encounters only

of this interior warfare took

Don Alonso came a little later place at Hortigosa. to take away his daughter from his brother s care.
Shortly afterwards the latter, notwithstanding his great His death was the age, embraced the religious life. death of a saint, and amongst the merits for which his

Saviour rewarded him perhaps not the least was the impetus which he gave to the heart of Teresa towards
the cloister.

Thus our saint found on returning to her father s house that her thoughts had taken an entirely fresh direction. The subject of Teresa s vocation is such an interesting one that it cannot be dismissed in a single
paragraph.

34

THE
The

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

world, in the days in which we live, is strangely It at fault with regard to a vocation to a religious life. a rule in a manner. matter as summary disposes of the The young girl (for it is question here of a woman s vocation) who breaks with her relations, and gives up a

promising future in order to bury herself in an impene trable cloister, and clothe her youth and beauty in the rough garments of religion, such a girl, the world decides, is labouring under a fit of enthusiasm which she will pay for dearly by bitter tears in the long years of solitude and subjection which are in store for her.
If this is the ordinary verdict, passed by the crowd on an act of heroism which it is incapable of appreciating, no less unjust is that of the family

The unless it happens to be a truly Christian one. and time tender care to of this the object up girl, a a victim now looked as is dreamer, affection, upon her firmness is treated as obstinate pride, of egotism her fervour as fanaticism. Probably similar instances are known to us all, in which women with true
;

vocations have been subjected to accusations of this sort and have lived them clown by their firmness and have followed them to the cloister, constancy.

We

and there, possibly after years of religious life, we have found them calm and contented, happier far than they would have thought it possible to be here below
;

the family reconciled, friends won over to their cause, and even the world almost ready to own that there are

the human soul which God alone can and which cannot be lightly classed under the satisfy or of delusion. folly heading To return to Teresa, let us follow her step by step, and notice what share reason and faith, as opposed to She imagination, had in her choice of her vocation. had had an opportunity whilst at the convent of the
aspirations in

HER TRIALS OF MIND

35

Augustinians of studying closely a religious life. The intimate relations in which she stood to Marin Briceno

had enabled her to appreciate the serenity and austere joys which God instils into the heart of those in whom He reigns alone. In spite of the edification she received there her nature rebelled against the life of a nun, and the lesson and example of her mistress had had but little effect in rooting out the invincible repugnance she was conscious of feeling to a cloistered life. The pro blem of her future, however, had to be solved.

Her
tic

from the

spirit of ties of

vows.

An

independence made her shrink no less married life than from those of monas inward monitor warned her that to think

any Between the two vocations, matrimony and the cloister, which was she to choose? Notwithstanding the repugnance she still bore to the latter, all her prayers were directed to imploring our Lord to cause her to embrace the vocation most pleasing to Him, and in which she could best serve Him. When a soul throws itself absolutely on the mercy of God, it is not thus Teresa was soon long kept in suspense
;

of an independent existence was but to indulge in idle dreams nor did the prospect of such a life offer her

attraction.

enlightened.

Her thoughts before she left the Augustinians had more than once turned to the religious life, but these were but passing thoughts. They came and went with out her giving any assent to them. It was whilst stay ing with her aged uncle Don Pedro that the Divine Will began to manifest itself in a more distinct and And in what manner? persistent manner to her soul.

By

extraordinary graces or irresistible attractions?

a Divine

We

of no refusal? read of nothing of the sort in the history of Teresa s vocation, and if anyone is tempted to regret that the

summons which would admit

By

36

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

spiritual espousals of one so eminent in sanctity should have been celebrated in so simple a manner, we on the other hand rejoice that God should have seen fit to give a model to His humblest little ones to follow, rather

than a prodigy for their admiration. A few pious lectures commented on by an old man the voice of the mortified hermit of Bethlehem, and of the holy Bishop of Hippo, preaching each in their
;

and

different style of the vanity of all earthly ambitions, a few days retreat in the of the greatness of God
;

solitude of Hortigosa: these were the blessed influences which led Teresa to reflect seriously on herself and her She shuddered at the thought that destiny in life.

death might have surprised her in the midst of her former frivolities. If the same dangers presented them selves again under another form, would she be stronger

them ? It was under these aspects of repent ance and fear that she faced the future. Was she going to expose her hopes of eternal welfare to the risks, the
to resist

snares, the pitfalls of a life in the world? On the other hand, the cloister offered her a shelter where her days would flow peacefully, and where she would pass, in

the end, from her cell into Paradise. In short, the life was the and the safest. Was that religious highest not sufficient? Teresa, faithfully corresponding with

divine grace which told her that Heaven was worthy of every sacrifice she could make for it, resolved to con quer her distaste for the cloister. She decides she will

become a nun,

cost her

what

it

may.

In Teresa s voca

tion nothing partakes of the visionary; faith and reason alone influence her decision. Faith submits the grave

premisses, to which reason draws an inevitable deduc


tion.

had

But before Teresa carried out her determination she still to fight unceasingly the enemy from within.

HER DECISION
The
the

37

God had been man would enemy


fear of

of

fain

the source of her vocation, inspire her with other

Brought up delicately as she had been, would she be able to stand the austerities of the cloister? Will she not break down under the yoke of obedience? Is there not reason to fear that after a vain attempt she may have to return to her friends, humbled and con fused by her failure? Teresa trod these vain appre hensions underfoot. She contemplated her Saviour s
fears.

cross, His to her that

wounds, His crown of thorns


she could well
"suffer

it

appeared

little

for

Him who

had suffered so much for love of her." At the same time she told herself that Jesus would be her strength, and that He would give her the courage necessary to support the trials of a life chosen and embraced for His
sake.

Jerome, her favourite author, sustained her reso she read and re-read his epistles to Paula, Eustochium, and Heliodorus. Doubtless her thoughts lingered on the following page whence many souls, even less ardent than hers, have imbibed a supernatural
St.

lution

strength:
"O desert, enamelled with the flowers of Christ! Solitude which has given birth to those mysterious stones of which the Apocalypse of the city of the great

King

is

built

Holy

retreat

you who are greater than the world? How much longer will the weight of a roof oppress your head? How much longer will the prison of towns hold you ? Believe me, I know not how it is, but here there is more light. Here, delivered from the weight of bodily care, the soul takes its flight
to

to enjoy the familiarities of God what have you to do in the world

where it is given to man Himself! Brother,

Heaven.

has said,

What do you fear here? Blessed are the poor.

Poverty?

Jesus

Work?

What

38
athlete

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

is crowned without a struggle ? Are you troubled about what you will eat? He who has faith in Providence is not afraid of hunger. Do you fear to extend your bare limbs, worn with fasting, on the ground? Think! our Lord will repose by your side. Let Does solitude strike terror in your heart? your spirit soar to Heaven when your soul is there you are no longer in the desert. In short, the apostle sums up all in a single sentence. He says: The sufferings of this time are not to be compared to the You ask too much, my brother, glory that awaits us. if you wish to enjoy the pleasures here below, and then 1 expect to reign with Jesus Christ in Heaven." The prospect of the austerities of a cloistered life was that which affected Teresa least. The loss of her inde pendence attacked her on a more tender point, but what she felt more deeply than anything was the sacri fice of the joys of home-life, and of the paternal tender ness a sacrifice which cost her much to make, and
.

still

more,

her.

The

much more, to impose upon those dear to heart must truly be shattered before it can

be given wholly to God. How would it be possible to encounter similar trials were it not that God whispers in the ear those words: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that
taketh not up his cross and followeth
of me.
. .

me is not worthy Hearken, daughter, and consider and in cline thine ear, and forget also thine own people, and
.

thy father

house."

Teresa listened to these words and understood their On the first occasion when she broke significance. the news to her father her words made no impression on him. God, in order possibly to increase the merit of Teresa s sacrifice, permitted that he should refuse to
1
EI>.

St.

Jerome

to Heliodorus.

OPPOSITION OF HER FATHER


hear of her making
retain
it.

39
to

He

insisted

on his right

presence charmed and sanctified his fireside, and after a long struggle, in which Teresa sought to veil her inflexible determina tion under a cloak of filial love and piety, the father and daughter separated, both with anguish in their Don Alonso determined hearts, and both inflexible that nothing should induce him to part with his daughter, and Teresa equally determined to belong to God alone. Desirous of using loving and gentle methods only, our saint then applied to her uncle, Don Pedro, and to her sister, Maria, to intercede for her with her father her brothers also, in spite of their love for her, pleaded her cause. It was all in vain. The hapless father protested that he could not deprive himself of the society of the best-beloved of his children, and that she must wait for his death in order to be free to carry out her wishes. I now began," Teresa tells us, "to be afraid of my own weakness, for I felt I might go back. So con sidering that such waiting was not safe for me, I obtained my end in another way."
the

daughter whose

"

CHAPTER
MIGUEL,

IV
domain
of

Elvira de Medina, was situated SAN


of Avila, at the foot of the hill

the hereditary

Dona

to the northerly side


city, in

crowned by that

a wooded valley, which like all the rest of that neigh bourhood has a beauty and picturesqueness of its own. Dona Elvira, we are told by Lezana in the Carmelite Annals, made over her patrimony to the Blessed Virgin, and built the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation upon it. The first Mass in the monastery
chapel, as we have already mentioned, was celebrated on the very day of Teresa s birth. Again, it was close
to this holy spot that our little seven-year-old heroine
fully to retrace

and whence she had sorrow her steps, and follow the uncle who double brought her back to her mother s arms. coincidence which the future was to render even more striking, for it was here that Teresa was to endure her martyrdom of love united to Jesus hidden beneath the sacramental veil.
in her flight,

was arrested

The monastery was a large one, as Dona Elvira de Medina s generosity enabled the Carmelites to add more than once to the size of their buildings, so that Lezana they had room for a great number of nuns.
relates that in the year

1550 they counted 190 in the

community, but in 1533, the period to which we refer, they were probably far short of this number. A friend of Teresa s had taken the veil at the monastery but a few years before. Juana Suarez was a true sister of
40

CONVENT OF THE INCARNATION

41

Maria Briceno, in the sense that she was a model Rule. religious, remarkable for her fidelity to her almost that she her Teresa was so deeply attached to feared for a moment that her choice of the monastery of the Incarnation in preference for the Augustinian con Accord vent was influenced by her affection for her. the was monastery where ingly, she tells us that this I had so great an lived for mine whom that friend of have to I would affection any other if I gone though had thought I should serve God better in it, or to any one my father liked, so strong was my resolution now to become a nun, for I thought more of the salvation of my soul now, and made no account whatever of mine
"

own
with

ease."

wishes prayers, recommending her Teresa found also to those of her companions. comfort and support also in one of her brothers not her dear Rodriguez, who had departed to the New World, but in Antonio, who, younger than her

Juana Suarez on her side seconded Teresa


her

own

fervent

by two years, was worthy of understanding his sister and taking example of her. Let us now listen to her account of the manner in which she carried out her
design.
"In

those days

when

persuaded one of

my

vanity of the world, to to set out one day very early in the morning for the monastery. ... I remember perfectly well (and it is quite true) that the pain I felt when I left my father s house was so great that I do not believe the pain of dying will be greater, for it seemed to me as if every bone in my body were wrenched asunder for as I had no love of God to destroy the love of father, and of
;

was thus resolved, I had brothers, by speaking of the become a friar, and we agreed
I

kindred, this latter love

came upon me with

a violence

42

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

own

so great that if our Lord had not been my Keeper, my But He resolution to go on would have failed me. gave me courage to right against myself, so that I

executed

my

purpose."

Antonio, faithful to his promise, accompanied Teresa to the door of the monastery of the Incarna tion. Leaving her there, in the hands of the Prioress and Juana Suarez, he proceeded on his \vay to the Fathers of St. Thomas, to ask of them the habit of St. Dominic. The brother and sister had made a wise choice of the day of their sacrifice. The bells of Avila were tolling for the dead, and the sound of the sad and peaceful requiem was the first that greeted Teresa s ears when she entered the chapel. It was the feast of All Souls who on that day does not feel how little anything matters which concerns this world only how much all that concerns the next? Soon the prayers for the dead ceased and according to the custom of those times, Teresa exchanged that same day her secular dress for the monastic habit. Happy to be delivered from vanities which she still feared but had ceased to care for, she allowed her beautiful hair true Spanish ornament to be cut off, and humbly wrapping herself up in the folds of her white veil, she took the last place amongst the postulants, buried herself in prayer, and
; ;

passed the rest of the day in peaceful and joyous seclu sion, a prelude to the happy days which were to come in her holy noviceship. Shortly afterwards Don Alonso came to the monastery to give her in person the permission he had till then withheld. All Teresa s wishes were now fulfilled, and the effort she had made to part with her father was compensated by the increased love and sympathy which was ever afterwards to subsist between them. By degrees their affection for each

TERESA ENTERS THE NOVITIATE


other assumed a
character.

43

still more supernatural and touching For Teresa s natural ascendancy showing itself in spite of all she could do, it was the father who put himself under the spiritual guidance of the young a novice, and learnt from her the way of perfection was she a where field first conquest for the Carmelite in to make so many more for the glory of God and the good of souls. The brothers also soon found their way to the convent parlour. They were at the age when the great question of their careers had to be decided on, and each had his secret trials and difficulties. Teresa had a kind and loving word for all and who could resist her burning words when she spoke of the love of
:
;

God, or of the happiness of serving Him in the person of their neighbour? Lorenzo, under her influence, a model Christian, and worthy son of grew up to be Don Alonso. Geronimo, "our excellent Geronimo," as Teresa loved to call him, though his heart was in his martial exercises, did not on that account neglect his

work nor his religious duties. Augustine, ambitious though he was by nature, learned to set a higher value on the things of eternity than upon worldly honours. Antonio, the young Dominican, even came from time
to time to excite his soul to fresh fervour

by the side of

her

who had done so much to help him on the path to Heaven. As for Juana, her greatest pleasure was to visit her sister, and Don Alonso, desiring to give
her the benefit of having her education directed by Teresa, imposed yet another sacrifice upon himself, and brought his little Benjamin to the monastery to be
educated.

Having given one glance over


let

the family history, us follow Teresa through the exercises of her novice:

The history of saints is above all the history ship. of their souls of their intercourse with God through

44

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

prayer and love and with their brethren through charity. If this axiom holds good with regard to all saints it is

more especially applicable


to attain in so

to Teresa,

who was

hereafter

eminent a degree that state of perfect detachment in which the human ego becomes wholly I live, effaced, and the soul can say with the apostle,
"

not

I,

but Christ lives in


still

me."

We are

at the foot of this

holy mountain
to ascend, not at

that

of perfection

which Teresa was

one

with alternate steps of fervour and A moment will come when the dove will tepidity. mount with the wings of an eagle up to the very
at first

bound, but

summit.

At present she

is

still

threading her

way

through the valleys, where it is necessary to advance slowly before attempting a long flight.

we give a general survey of the first year of s religious life, we see her sustained by divine and She grace encouraged by sensible devotion.
If

Teresa

readily submits

to

monastic observance,

she

prays

much, and puts her willing aid at the service of all, with a goodness and amiability which is peculiar to her. She is satisfied with small things, which her practical good sense makes her appreciate at their true worth and feeling incapable as yet of offering God great and overwhelming proofs of her love for Him, or of her zeal for His service, she loses no occasion of making
;

the utmost of the lesser ones. Again, when, in spite of her persevering efforts to conquer herself, she is conscious that nature, her instincts and inclinations, are not to be mastered at a single blow, she suffers, she struggles against them, and by this interior combat

she prepares for the day when she will give herself wholly to God in her religious profession. With her usual delightful simplicity our saint gives us every detail of her new life. Her first start was at the cost

HER HAPPINESS

IN

THE CLOISTER
;

45

to her at the It seemed of an unspeakable effort. time like passing through the portal of death but she had not to wait long before reaping her reward. "When I took the habit our Lord at once made me understand how He helps those who do violence to themselves in order to serve Him. No one observed this violence in me they saw nothing but the greatest because I was entering on that moment At will. good that state I was filled with a joy so great, that it has never failed me to this day, and God converted the aridity of my soul into the greatest tenderness. Every
;

thing in religion was a delight unto me, and it is true that now and then I used to sweep the house during those hours of the day which I had formerly spent on
dress and amusements, and calling to mind that was delivered from such follies, I was filled with a new joy that surprised me, nor could I understand whence it came. Whenever I remember this, there is nothing in the world, however hard it may be, that, if it were proposed to me, I would not undertake without any hesitation whatever, for I know now by experience in

my
I

many
in

things that if from the first I resolutely persevere my purpose, even in this life His Majesty rewards it in a way which he only understands who has tried
it.

When
its

before
of
if

is done for God only, it is His will that the soul, in order to the increase merits, should be afraid, and the greater the fear

the act
it

we begin

succeed, the greater the reward, and the sweetness thence afterwards resulting." Overwhelmed with spiritual favours, Teresa found in the much feared cloister the ante-room to Paradise. Not satisfied with the prayers specified by the Rule, all She used to be her spare time was spent in praying. constantly seen prostrate before the Tabernacle wrapt in contemplation, whilst tears of ardent love, and re-

we do but

46

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

pentance for her past infidelities flowed from her eyes. Teresa s behaviour probably did not pass without com ment the fervent who were in sympathy with her prophesied that God had many graces in store for the holy novice the lukewarm and indifferent were prob ably inclined to find fault with what they looked upon as an exaggeration of piety. Teresa was silent, and
;

though, as\ve shall see later on, to what was said about her, towards the goal she had in to right nor to left. To seek
this

she was not indifferent she kept straight on view, looking neither

was the object


s

of

all

her

God, to go to Him thoughts and her


;

desires.

Teresa
its

Order, and

deepest study was given to the Rule of her all her efforts were directed to keeping it in

She was especially attentive to her duties integrity. in choir, and the elder nuns were edified to observe that
she was ever amongst the first to take her place there, and that her recollected behaviour, and fidelity to the ceremonies prescribed, were those of a professed nun rather than that of a youthful novice. If any slight breach of the Rule escaped her vigilance, she made haste to repair her fault by the usual penances, with a
simplicity
all

and humility which touched and delighted


her.

who saw
life
;

Religious

life,

however,
it

is

not only

the
life

of a soul with her


life

God,

is

also

community

of a daughter with her mother, the life of a sister with sisters. Teresa sought, in the sanctified affections of the cloister, food for a heart which divine
the

love had never cooled, nor for a moment narrowed in its love for those around her. To realize this it is only

necessary to study the history of her life. To live without loving, without giving,

without
is

devoting oneself to
to be alive at all.

some

living object

that

not

And

should this page come before

HER LOVE OF GOD AND MAN


the eye of some prejudiced individual the strange theory that the cloister

47

who
is

entertains

the death of
"

human affections, we would recall to him the funda Thou mental rule of the Divine Teacher s doctrine shalt love the Lord thy God above all things, and thy neighbour as thyself." One who enters holy Religionbe it man or woman who pronounces his vows, abandons the world, and keeps the Counsels of perfec tion, does so only in order to fulfil more integrally this supreme law that is, in order to love and serve God
:

better,

and
sake.

to love

man, and love him more wisely,

for

God

It was in this sense undoubtedly that Teresa under If she excelled in one virtue more stood her vocation. than another whilst in the noviceship, it was in her ardent and watchful love for her neighbour. Happy to be the last in the house, she took advantage of the fact to claim various privileges which she would on no account surrender to anyone else. If there was any

disaster that
tasteful

had

to

work

to be

be repaired, any menial or dis undertaken, the young novice was


spot,

always the

first

on the

either to acquit herself


it

quietly of the task, or to claim If one of the older sisters was

as her special duty.


in carrying

engaged

a load of any sort, Teresa was at once at her side, dividing the labour with her and these services were given in so affectionate and cheerful a manner as to
;

leave the impression on the recipient that she was con One of her ferring rather than receiving a favour. resolutions was never to allow a day to pass without performing some act of charity. Sometimes when

kneeling at her night-prayers, and going over in thought her day s occupation, she reproached herself with not having assisted her companions as much as she might have done perhaps whilst thus engaged
;

48

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

she would hear an uncertain and tottering step in the cloisters, revealing the fact that a sister was groping her way in the dark to her cell. Instantly Teresa would take her lamp and, going to the nun s assist 1 ance, light up her way for her, and escort her to bed. Then she would thank God for the opportunity He had given her of thus repairing a little the negli

gences of the day. It was in truth a flower in the wreath of her good actions which her angel guardian wove for her that day. These things were doubtless
trifles,

but

God knows
which
lies

their value,

that the love

below them

is

and He recognizes no trifle. Again,

as the occasions
virtue, the novice

grew
s

for the exercise of this great

them.

charity grew and kept pace with her desire to devote herself to the satisfy service of her neighbour she had been employed in the

To

infirmary work, which was generally given to professed nuns only. Neither fatigue, nor night watching, nor services, sometimes of the most trying and revolting The sick nature, appeared to cost her anything. cheered up the moment they saw the flutter of her white veil in the distance. All felt that they could ask what they liked of Teresa without risk of exhausting her patience and however weary she might be, she would still have a gentle and loving word or thought to give to those whose sufferings even her charitable care had not sufficed to alleviate. There was one nun the the inmates of amongst infirmary who had been attacked by a disease of which the sight alone was a trial to all around her. Her body was covered with ulcers of a nature so terrible and deep-seated that the
;

little

nourishment she contrived

forcibly ejected, with unfortunate patient,

much
1

used to be them. The pain, through Divine to the Will, resigned


to take
Rihora.

TERESA AS INFIRMARIAN

49

blessed God, and endured her cross in silence. Teresa, witness of her resignation, and of the in voluntary horror produced by her malady, obtained leave to devote herself entirely to her service. Her

power over herself enabled her

to

triumph over every

She used to kiss the feeling of natural fastidiousness. hands of her dear patient, sit near her, and take her
meals
at her

bedside

in short,

she manifested

in

every
"her.

prayed to God that He would give me a like patience and then, whatever sickness it might be His pleasure to send, I do not think I was afraid of any, for I was resolved on gaining eternal good, and determined to I am gain it by any and by every means. surprised at myself now, because I had not then, as I believe, that love of God which I think I had after I began to pray. Then I had only light to see that all things that pass away are to be lightly esteemed, and that the good things to be gained by despising these are of great
;

from feeling any sort of disgust for her, she took the utmost pleasure in serving All the sisters," Teresa tells us, "were afraid of her malady. I envied her patience very much, and I
possible
"

way

that, far

courage and equanimity that her superior attached but little importance to them, and Teresa still less. Providence

it is true, and other symptoms of failing health, but the novice endured these troubles with such

because they are eternal." Shortly afterwards holy nun went to her reward, and God heard Teresa s prayers by sending her an illness which, though it differed in its nature from that of her In order to enable patient, equalled it in severity. her to receive the graces of her profession, God gave her sufficient health to enable her to follow the Rule until the day arrived for her to pronounce her vows. The change of life and of food brought on faintness,
price,

the

50

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

allowed her to pass through other trials which touched these we will give in her own her far more deeply
;

words
"

I forgot to say how in the year of my novitiate suffered much uneasiness about things in themselves

but I was found fault with very was blameless. I bore it painfully and I went through it all with imperfection, however. All because of the joy I had in being a nun. had an attraction for but observances me, religious I could not endure any which seemed to make me con I delighted in being thought well of by temptible. was and others, very exact in everything I had to do. All this I thought was a virtue, though it will not serve as any excuse for me, because I knew what it was to
of no importance,
often

when

procure

my own

satisfaction in everything."

These are the shadows cast by nature upon the work Teresa was still sensitive on the point of her of grace. and of the confidence and affection in which reputation she was held. She suffered because the hearts of those around her to whom she tendered a sister s love did She felt not always respond to it, nor understand her. herself neglected, who at home had ever been accus tomed to having her smallest desires complied with by father, brothers, and friends, and was the object of What \vas she their tender sympathy and affection. Retreat ? Go back to joys which she had been to do ?
prepared to renounce for ever? No! Her courage tramples upon these feeble obstacles, and ever ad vancing in the paths of perfection, humbling herself before her weakness, and deploring her too sensitive nature, Teresa, on the 3rd of November, 1534, with
equal resolution and joy, pronounces the solemn words of her profession. Thirty years later, when she had received signal graces from God, the recollection of

HER TRIALS

IN

RELIGION

51

her profession was still dearer 1 to her than any other, and she will even then look upon this day of her spiritual espousals as the greatest in her life.
Later on Teresa, in a time of special trial, I do not think says suffering s were greater even on the day of my profession." But we need see no contradiction in these two statements. The saint enjoyed
1
"

my

spiritual consolation in proportion to the sacrifice she the sacrifice was one she felt most

was making, and

deeply.

CHAPTER V

TERESA, says: "Though


T
;

referring to the year of her profession, my happiness was great, that

the fainting-fits began to be more was not enough frequent, and my heart was so seriously affected that everyone who saw me was alarmed, and I had also And thus it was that I spent the first other ailments.
year,
I

having very bad health, though

do not think

offended

God

in

it much."

s prayer, addressed to from the bedside of the dying nun the previous He sent her equal suffering, and the grace of year. bearing her suffering with equal patience. The hours appear long in the infirmary when bodily pangs and the weariness of bad health are combined with the deprivation of the monastic exercises which alone fill and animate community life. The young nun with her natural energy and her love of the Rule found in her enforced inaction a grand occasion for the

Our Lord answered Teresa

Him

She accepted it she received practice of patience. the services of her sisters with a gratitude only equal
;

to the eagerness with been able, offered her

which she had, when she had own. Her great weakness fre quently prevented her from having recourse to spiritual reading, which was the one recreation for which she
longed.

by recalling

She could supply this great privation only to mind passages in books she had pre

viously read.
1

The works
e.g.

of the Fathers
to cure her body.

were familiar

Xot enough
52

TERESA S HEALTH BREAKS DOWN


to her,

53

and no doubt when reading St. Gregory the commentary on Job her mind dwelt on the words of that holy patriarch: we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not
Great
s
"If

receive evil? Blessed be the name of the Lord." Her patience edified the whole community, and if anyone had asked her the secret of her peace of mind she

might possibly have answered in the words we have already quoted from her life: "It seems to me that I did not offend God in it much." Don Alonso, distressed by the state of his daughter s health, took one doctor after another to see her, but after trying their skill upon her they all declared that she was In despair at suffering from an incurable disease. their want of success Alonso determined to try what
a

marvellous cures were quack doctress, to This woman lived at attributed, could do for Teresa.

whom

Becedas, at a considerable distance from Avila, but with the superior s permission (the convent of the Incarnation not being enclosed), Alonso made up his mind to take his daughter to consult her. Accord ingly Teresa was confided to her father s care, and,

accompanied by Juana Sanchez, she set out on this long journey with little expectation on the part of those she left behind that they would ever see her
again.
the month of November, 1535, and the of the journey were rendered more fatigues trying the cold of The travellers first halt by early winter.
It

was

Here her uncle, Don ing-place was at Hortigosa. surrounded her with Pedro, every care and attention he also presented her with "an excellent book on
;

Recollection,"

Teresa
to

tells us,

by

Fr.

Osuna.

"I

did

not

know how
I

myself.

make my prayer nor how to recollect was therefore much pleased with the book,

54

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


to follow the

and resolved
with
all

way

of prayer

it

described

my

might."

From Hortigosa Teresa was taken by


Castellanos, where she

her father to

was anxiously awaited by Dona Maria de Cepeda and Don Marti no de Guzman. The travellers decided on spending the winter here, and
the holy

postponing the cure till the spring. We see, therefore, nun once more restored to her family. Teresa s sufferings would have served in the case of

many as a plea for the suspension of a regular course of devotional exercises, and, moreover, would have permitted the enjoyment of attentions such as are ever
to her to

lavished on invalids. But Teresa s cross was too dear admit of her losing any particle of it. She seized the opportunity accordingly of her residence at Castellanos to begin to lead the life of recollection and prayer recommended in the treatise given to her by her
uncle.
It

This book became her guide and her master. prescribed solitude and silence, accompanied by Teresa found that these pre great purity of heart. cepts were compatible with the life she was forced to
lead, and she contrived to give some hours daily to recollection. Neither her father nor sister tried to inter
fere with her purpose. Both recognized that she be longed more to God than to them, and venerated in

The the spouse of Jesus Christ. winter passed quickly for all except Teresa, whose sufferings increased daily in severity. It was decided that the doctress should begin her course of treatment in April accordingly the travellers
their dear invalid
;

journey early in that month, accom panied by Dona Maria. They travelled slowly out of consideration for Teresa s health her weakness was so This great that she fainted repeatedly on the road. was but the Way of the Cross Teresa found her

resumed

their

TREATMENT BY A QUACK-DOCTRESS

55

Calvary at Becedas. Confided by her father into the hands of a woman whose foolhardiness was only equalled by her ignorance, Teresa became a victim of desperate remedies applied without knowledge or dis

She was consumed day and night by and unable to digest any food. An interior fire fever, to her on and so acute were the appeared vitals, prey she endured that it seemed as if her heart was pains
crimination.

being torn on the teeth of a rack. Finally a universal contraction of nerves, the result of her sufferings and weakness, left her, to use her own expression, in tor ture from head to foot. Don Alonso, in despair at
the state to

three

which she was reduced, brought her back months later to Avila. Before taking up her

history again,

we

will let

our saint

tell

us in her

own

words how God was carrying out His great work in her soul at a period when, joyous and calm as ever, she had surrendered herself to pains worse than those of martyrdom. The treatment she went through at Becedas had had no effect in making her relax her
fervour

applying her and prayer spiritual reading. From the beginning God was most gracious to me," Teresa says. "At the end of my stay there (I spent nearly nine months in the practice of solitude) our Lord began to comfort me so much in this way of prayer as in His mercy to raise me to the prayer of quiet, and now and then to that of union, though I understood not what either the one or the other was nor the great esteem I ought to have had of them. I believe it would have been a great blessing to me if I had understood the matter. It is true that the prayer
;

all

this time she never ceased

mind
"

to

of union lasted but a short time.

I know not if it con tinued for the space of an Ave Maria; but the fruits of it remained and these were such that though I was
;

56

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


;

then not twenty years of age 1 seemed to despise the world utterly and so I remember how sorry I was for
followed its ways, though only in things I used to labour with all lawful. my might to imagine our God and our Christ, Lord, Jesus present within me. And this was the way I prayed. If I meditated on
those

who

any mystery of His life, I represented it to myself as within me, though the greater part of my time I spent in reading good books, in which I took all my com
fort."

Teresa drew from this spirit of prayer the actual graces of which she was so greatly in need, such as an At the same time unfailing patience amidst her pains. the unbroken union between her innocent soul and God developed in her the distinctive marks of her divine love and sanctity, which was that of love love of souls the ardent, self-effacing, zealous love of which her name has become almost a symbol. Circumstances of a very delicate nature were the cause at this time of her beginning her first mission for the conversion of sinners. Up to this moment we have only seen her exert her influence over the pure and the good, in short such who asked her advice and were prepared to follow it we shall now see her rescuing a sinner from the degradation of a bad life,
:

and bringing him back

to

God.

Becedas, Teresa, according to her custom, asked for a confessor in order to approach the Sacraments. A priest was brought to her who,

On

her

first arrival at

though of good birth (she mentions) and naturally She soon perceived intelligent, was no theologian. his ignorance, and deeply regretted it, for she had a
strong predilection for enlightened confessors. Still, as she had been brought into relations with him she did not judge it necessary, considering the short time

HER ZEAL FOR SOULS

57

she was to spend at Becedas, to apply for another priest. Accordingly she went to confession to him. This unfortunate man, however, bore a greater stain on his conscience than that of ignorance; and no sooner had Teresa revealed her soul to him, and he saw her shedding tears of contrition over the trifling faults which had escaped her watchfulness over herself, that he noted her humility, her union with God, than

he was overcome by a sense of his own degradation. Unable to master his feelings, he allowed an admission of the scandalous and sacrilegious life he had been leading for seven years to escape him. Teresa, taken by surprise and no less distressed than horrified, was determined to do her utmost to save him at all costs. The undertaking was not without its perils and the saint, later on recognizing them, accused herself of rashness such as her inexperience alone excused.
;

Her single-mindedness and simplicity, however, the ardour of her zeal, and God s protection enabled her
to

surmount

all

difficulties.

heart for this soul

whom

She prayed with all her she saw on the point of ship

wrecking, and adjured him to turn to God, whose servant he was, and repent while there was still time.

man s heart, though his had it. Teresa s words awak over-mastered passions ened it anew. Before long he broke the disgraceful
Faith was not extinct in the
that bound him, humbly sought to repair the scandal he had given, and earned by the fervour of his repentance the grace, a year after he had made the acquaintance with our saint, of a holy and contrite
ties

death.

Teresa needed all the consolation such a triumph of divine grace must have given her in the ever-increasing sufferings which followed this event, accompanied as The resignathey were by great spiritual desolation.

58

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


which she bore
all

tion with

these trials

was not shared

by Don Alonso, who,

of her medical a few weeks later to Avila. The return journey was followed fresh again by fatigues and greater suffering. Teresa reached the Finally paternal roof in the month

in despair at the consequences treatment at Becedas, brought her back

of July in a wellnigh dying condition. The vigil of the feast of the Assumption arrived, and Teresa asked for her confessor in order to prepare for receiving Holy

the following day. She expressed this much earnestness, and her father was so forcibly struck with the idea that she believed herself to be at the point of death, that to dispel this
desire with so

Communion

impression, by proving to her that he did not share he refused to send for a priest.
"

it,

she says, my sickness became so acute that for four days I remained insensible. They administered the Sacrament of the last Anoint
"

That very

night,"

ing,
I

and every hour, or rather every moment, thought was dying they did nothing but repeat the Credo
;

could understand anything they said. They must have regarded me as dead more than once, for I found afterwards drops of wax on my eyelids. My father, because he had not allowed me to go to con
as
if I

fession,

was grievously
to

distressed,

and many prayers

were made

God

blessed

be

He Who

heard

them

!"

So alarmingly ill was our saint that the report of her death was spread in the town of Avila. The nuns of the convent of the Incarnation prepared her grave, and sent two sisters of the Order to render the last services to her body and watch beside it in the coffin. The Carmelites in a neighbouring monastery celebrated a solemn requiem for the repose of her soul. Her
family
felt

that they

were but watching beside a corpse

TERESA FALL INTO A TRANCE

59

her father alone preserved hope in the midst of his Love and sorrow united in the cry which he anguish. sent up in his heart to the Throne of Grace to implore God s mercy on his beloved daughter that she might not suffer from the effects of his too great paternal

He sought to warm Teresa s icy hands in and to those who wished to lead him away own, from her bedside he repeated emphatically the same I know it. She is not words: "She is not dead. me here." die. Leave to going At last, on the fourth day of her illness, Teresa opened her eyes, and, with a smile for her father and brothers, quietly reproached them for recalling her to earth after she had begun to taste the joys of Heaven. Other words also fell from her lips which revealed some part of the mysteries into which she had been initiated during her long sleep. She had not only been given a glimpse of the joys of Paradise, but she had also sounded with one look the abysses of hell and God, before restoring her to life, had in part revealed to her the great destiny He had reserved for her, and which He had sent her back to the world to accomplish. Such were some of the words and impressions which Teresa allowed to escape her in waking from her slumber, perhaps hardly realizing what she said. When those around her recalled them to her later, she blushed and treated all she had then said as idle dreams. Her humility ever found a good excuse for passing lightly over anything which would raise her in the
tenderness.
his
1
;

estimation of others. shall also see at a later period the extreme caution and diffidence with which she received visions, and various other supernatural manifestations, which at different times were vouchsafed
to her, in spite of the indubitable
1

We

marks which they

Ribera.

60

THE
it

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

carried with
apart,
is

should
state,

them of their divine origin. Humility quite possible that our saint at that time have taken the extraordinary favours she
idle

God, whilst lying in an unconscious phantoms of her brain. The future, however, was to show her whence they came and Teresa, enlightened then by years of experience, and
for
;

received from

better instructed in the secrets of the supernatural life, admitted to her spiritual daughters that in her youth, when in extreme danger, God had showed her heaven and hell in a vision, and had foretold to her the good she was to effect in her Order, the holy death she was to obtain for her father and Juan a Sanchez by her

prayers,
posterity

and was

finally

the

terminate her

own
to

existence,

happy one which was to and the halo with which

surround her name.

As soon
once more

as she recovered consciousness Teresa asked for the Sacraments. When the priest

brought

her holy Viaticum she shed tears of devotion, and after having communicated she remained long absorbed in sentiments of ardent love and compunction, to which the sufferings, which lost no time in returning, appeared to contribute rather than to diminish. Her throat was dried up to such an extent that it was not possible for her to swallow a drop of water she could only breathe with extreme pain and difficulty her con tracted nerves distorted all her body, her helpless limbs refused to render her any service, so that without assis tance she could neither use hands nor feet, nor arms nor head. She remained in this state from the Feast of
; ;

Assumption, 1526, to the Easter of the following year. A slight improvement then rendered her removal possible, though she was still bedridden, to her monas The grief of being away from it added to her tery. other sufferings, and Don Alonso found himself obliged

SHE RETURNS TO HER CONVENT


to

61

agree with her wishes; the poor father could no longer dispute the possession of his child with God. Accordingly the Carmelites received once more the victim who, four years previously, had brought her youth and happiness to immolate it at the foot of the altar. The sacrifice had been accepted, and consum mated. Teresa was but a shadow of her former self, and it was with profound compassion that the nuns per ceived the awful ravages that illness had made on the frame of the humble and patient sufferer. Eight months passed before she was able to leave her bed. She began early in the following year, 1538 (as she says in her Life) to drag herself about a huge progress, and one which filled her with joy, because she could then help herself in many ways and thus save trouble to her sisters. She now believed that her illness would be chronic her limbs remained ever in the same help less and incapable state, and the doctors judged that In this she was suffering from incurable paralysis.
; ;

state,

the future.

to hope for any favourable change in was not without a hidden purpose that God thus kept Teresa on the Cross. He was complet ing the inner education and training of her soul and preparing her for her future mission. She was to suffer much in order to comprehend at the same time the price of suffering and its severity, in order to know what she had to offer to God, and what she had to ask of souls in the time when she was to devote her Order to the sacrifices and immolations of an apostleship of
It

1538 and 1539 her any reason

always infirm, nearly always m bed, the years rolled by for our saint without giving

expiation.

But
of
it

this design of

God

s,

though she had a glimpse

for

one moment

in the great crisis of her illness,

was nevertheless

still

hidden from her.

She

suffered

62

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
to

TERESA
s

in patience,

abandoning herself

God

good pleasure

without thought of the morrow, only intent on praying

and practising the solid Christian virtues above all that favourite one of hers, charity. Let us hear her of those from her own lips her impressions days
;

straightforward, simple character, full alike of love and ardour, reveals itself in every line U I bore all this with great resignation and, if I the except beginning of my illness, with great joy for
:

was nothing in comparison with the pains and tortures I had to bear at first. I was resigned to the Will of God, even if He left me in this state for ever. My anxiety about the recovery of my health seemed to be grounded on my desire to pray in solitude as I had been taught for there was no means of doing so in the infirmary. They all marvelled at the patience which our Lord gave me for if it had not come from the hand of His Majesty it seemed impossible to endure so great an affliction with so great It was a joy. great thing for me to have had the grace of prayer, which God had wrought in me it made me understand what it is to love Him. In a little while I saw these virtues renewed within me still they were not strong, for
all this
;
. . .

were not
spoke
ill

sufficient to sustain

me

in justice.

they never

in the slightest degree whatever of anyone, ordinary practice was to avoid all detraction for I used to keep most carefully in mind that I ought not to assent to, nor say of another, anything I should

and

my

this resolution

upon some great occasions that presented themselves sometimes. But my ordinary practice was this and those who were about me, and those with whom 1 conversed, became so convinced that it was right; that It came to be understood they adopted it as a habit.
;

not like said of myself. I was extremely careful to keep on all occasions though not so perfectly
;

HER LONG ILLNESS


;

63

so they that where I was, absent persons were safe were also with my friends and kindred, and with those whom I instructed. Still, for all this I have a strict account to give unto God for the bad example I gave in other respects. May it please His Majesty to forgive me, for I have been the cause of much evil though not with intentions as perverse as were the acts that The longing for solitude remained, and I followed. loved to discourse and speak of God for if I found anyone with whom I could do so, it was a greater joy and satisfaction to rne than all the refinements, or
; ;

the world s conversation.

speak more correctly, the impertinences, of I communicated and con fessed more frequently still, and desired to do so. I was most extremely fond of reading good books I
rather, to
; ;

was deeply penitent for having offended God and I remember that very often I did not dare to pray, because I was afraid of that most bitter anguish Avhich
1

felt for

having offended God

dreading

it

as a great

chastisement."

We shall learn more, later on, about these faults with which Teresa reproaches herself. Meanwhile, let us sum up in a few words the effect of the picture she
presents to us of

her interior

life.

Prayer

is

the

principle, the foundation stone, and the food of her life, and that life unfolds itself under the aspects of an ever-

patient resignation, a charity, and burning zeal for souls. This is Teresa at the age of twenty-four. Do we not recognize Rodriguez s little sister, the child in love with martyrdom, in the description ? What har

mony there is To go to God


His
feet.

in
;

every event of this astounding


is

life

to be united to

Him, and lead souls

to
it

This

the predominant idea, or, to put

in other

From

words, the sublime passion of this valiant soul. childhood to the grave Teresa knew no other.

64

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

These years of acute suffering had borne their fruit. was time the patient victim, who up to this could only merit by her sufferings and her prayers, should be re stored to her community and to the Church. Though Teresa would have wished to be cured in order better to serve her divine Spouse, yet she had never asked this grace of Him, desiring only to abandon herself in all things to His good pleasure. A secret inspiration caused her to change her mind. Thus she tells us in her Life When I saw how helpless I was through paralysis, being still so young, and how the physicians of this world had dealt with me, I determined to ask those of Heaven to heal me, for I wished to be well, though
It
:
"

I bore my illness with great joy. I began masses and prayers saicl for my intentionby having prayers that were highly sanctioned for I never liked those other devotions which some people, especially women, make use of with a ceremoniousness to me I have intolerable, but which move them to devotion. since learnt that they were unseemly and superstitious. And I took for my patron and lord the glorious St. Joseph, and recommended myself earnestly to him. ... I cannot call to mind that I have ever asked him at any time for anything that he has not granted and

nevertheless

with amazement when I consider the great favours which God hath given me through this great saint the danger from which he hath delivered me, both of body and soul. To other saints our Lord seems to have given grace to succour men in some special necessity, but to this glorious saint, I know by ex perience, to help us in all." should have much wished to have heard from our saint how she was cured. But carried away by filial piety to him whom she never ceased to describe as her beloved Father St. Joseph," she leaves her
I

am

filled

We

"

ST.

JOSEPH CURES HER

65

story unfinished, and gives herself up to the joy of Two pages of glorifying the saint of her predilection. that natural eloquence of the heart for which she is

distinguished are the tribute of gratitude which Teresa lays at the feet of St. Joseph, little dreaming that they would be the text of many devout works written in shall see succeeding ages in praise of the saint. how Teresa s devotion to St. Joseph increases with the growth of her sanctity, and we shall see her later on, in gratitude of the favour she had received from him, dedicating chapels and monasteries to his name. can think of I do not know how anyone," she says, the Queen of Angels, during the time she suffered so much with the Infant Jesus, without giving thanks to St. Joseph for the service he has rendered them. He who cannot find anyone to teach him how to pray, let him take this glorious saint for his master, and he will not wander out of the way." Coming back to her own history, two words suffice her to show the miraculous nature of her cure

We

"

"

publicly profess my devotion to him, I "Though have always failed in my service to him, and imitation He was like himself when he made me able of him.
I

to rise
like

and walk
I

myself when

no longer a paralytic and I too am make so bad a use of this grace."

Teresa wished to testify her gratitude to God for her cure by taking up at once with renewed fervour the

Those who have gone exercises of community life. through a similar experience will easily represent to themselves Teresa s joy in returning to life after having been held in the clutches of what might be called a living death for so long. Teresa Avas not in
it,

her love of God grew with sensible to this happiness and she longed, now that she was restored to life, to
;

realize the fervent desires of her sick bed.

And

yet,

66

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

notwithstanding all this, sixteen long years were to elapse before her soul was to take that astounding flight to the heights of perfection and contemplation in which her later years were to be consummated. great distance still lies before us which separates Teresa de

Ahumada from Teresa

of Jesus.

CHAPTER

VI

period of Teresa s history which we have now reached requires more than a passing comment. As we have said once before, we are not engaged in It is un writing Teresa s panegyric, but her life.

THE

to allow his

doubtedly true that a saint s biographer is sometimes apt enthusiasm to colour his story, but it is of the utmost importance that he should preserve its historic

character intact, and not pass the limits of scrupulous The period to which we allude is the one she veracity. afterwards called the time of her great dissipation, of her vanity." She accuses herself of lukewarmness, and
"

of resistance to grace, and, to believe her, these faults

were of a grave character. Against her own testimony we must set that of her biographers Yepes and Ribera, both of whom were intimately acquainted with her and had heard her confessions. We have in addition to their affirmations which were worded in the strongest terms the decisions of the process

and canonization, the judgments of Gregory the unanimous of the finally opinion Church, and (with the exception of a few writers tainted with Jansenism) of all Catholic theologians.

of

XV

Urban VIII, and

Teresa

s historian, therefore,

backed up by such an

array of authorities, need have no hesitation in declar ing that the faults she bewailed with the sorrow and repentance of an Augustine or a Magdalen were not of a serious nature. Thus the Bollandists apply to

Teresa

St.

Gregory

comment on Job
67

in his treatise

on

68

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


"Let

the holy patriarch:

all
;

admire the virtues


I

to be

found

in this great saint

as for me,

That Teresa was his very defects." But if the her life is doubtless true. of at this period her actions and to still clement her, human clung-

see sublimity in not without defects

showed marks of imperfection, no

less

does her loving

around her, nature, the attraction she exercised on all to draw influence this of made she use the and holy of secrets the into them initiate to and souls to God,
in every page of her history. prayer, reveal itself turn to Teresa s confessions and allow therefore us Let her own words, to her heart s in humble to her herself,

content.
"

We will sum up afterwards the arguments which may be used on the other side. she Who could have said that I was so soon to after from consolations such "after God; great says, His Majesty had implanted virtues in me which of them after I had been as it were selves made me serve Him
fall,"
;

dead, and in such extreme peril of eternal damnationafter He had raised me up soul and body so that all who saw me marvelled to see me alive ? What can it mean, O

Truly the life we live is full of dangers. think that it did me much harm to be in a monastery The liberty which those who were good not enclosed. with have advantage (they not being obliged to might do more than they clo, because they had not bound

my Lord?
I

themselves to enclosure) would certainly have led me, who am wicked, straight to hell, if our Lord, by so many remedies and means of His most singular mercy, had not delivered me out of that clanger. ... So then going on from vanity to vanity, from one occasion of
sin to another, I began to expose myself exceedingly to the very greatest dangers my soul was so distracted by many vanities that I was ashamed to draw near unto God in an act of special friendship such as prayer. As
;

TERESA S INFIDELITY TO GRACE

69

my sins multiplied, I began to lose the pleasure and comfort I had in virtuous things, and that loss I see now contributed to the abandonment of prayer. most clearly, O my Lord, that this comfort departed from me because I had departed from Thee. It was the most fatal delusion into which Satan could plunge me to I give up prayer under the pretext of humility. began to be afraid of giving myself to prayer, because I saw myself so lost. I thought it would be better for me seeing that in my wickedness I was one of the most wicked to live like the multitude, to say the prayers I
was bound
to say,

and

that vocally

not to practise

mental prayer, nor commune with God so much. For I deserved to be with the devils, and was deceiving those who were about me because I made an outward

show
which

of goodness. And therefore the community in I dwelt is not to be blamed, for with my cunning
;

1 so arranged matters that ail had a good opinion of me and yet I did not seek this deliberately by simulating devotion for in all that relates to hypocrisy and ostentation glory be to God I do not remember that I ever offended Him, so far as I know. The very first movement herein gave me such pain, that the devil would depart from me with loss, and the gain remained with me, and thus he never tempted me much in this way. Perhaps, however, if God had permitted Satan to tempt me as sharply herein as he tempted me in other things, I should have fallen also in this, but His Majesty has preserved me until now. May He be blessed for evermore. Rather it was a heavy affliction
;

to

should be thought so well of, for I knew The reason why they thought I was not so wicked was this they saw that I who was so young, and exposed to so many occasions of sin, with
that
I

me

my own

secret.

drew myself so often into solitude

tor prayer, read so

70

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


;

much, and spoke of God


painted in so

that

many

places, to

liked to have His image have an oratory of my

own, and furnish it with objects of devotion, that I spoke ill of no one, and other things of the same kind in me which had the appearance of virtue. Yet all the while (I was so vain) I knew how to procure respect for myself by doing those things which in the world are
In consequence of this usually regarded with respect. as me much as they did to the oldest liberty they gave had and even and nuns, more, great confidence in me,
for as to taking liberty for myself, or doing without leave, I never did it for our Lord held
"

anything

me

back."

Let us pause here for a moment. Can we, judging the appearances of virtue" to which Teresa is forced to own from an independent standpoint, see them in the same light as she, in her humility, sees them? The obedient nun who, in spite of an exceptional liberty lawfully granted by her superior, does nothing without
their

who has

knowledge and permission the charitable nun ever kind and amiable words on her lips for her neighbours, whether absent or present; the fervent nun who gives much time to prayer can a nun who
; :

does

be virtuous in appearance only? Is she not performing the duties necessary to her state of life ? Possibly she is not free from imperfections but these
all this
;

may weaken her union with God and the light of grace in her, and yet not destroy either the one or the
Full weight will have to be given to these other. admissions of Teresa s in the discussion on the subject with which we propose terminating the history of her wanderings. After some reflections of a general character upon the inconveniences entailed by the absence of the enclosure in a monastery, Teresa takes up once more the thread of her confessions.

HER SELF-REPROACHES
"

71

was once with a person

it

was

at the

very begin

ning of my acquaintance with her when our Lord was pleased to show me that these friendships were not good for me, to warn me also, and in my blindness, which was so great, to give me light. Christ stood

and grave, giving me to understand was displeasing to Him. I saw conduct my Him with the eyes of the soul more distinctly than I could have seen Him with the eyes of the body. The vision made so deep an impression upon me that, though it is more than twenty-six years ago, I seem to see Him present even now. I was greatly astonished
before
in

me

stern

what

and disturbed, and


again.
that
It

did

me much harm

resolved not to see that person that I did not then know

it was possible to see anything otherwise than with the eyes of the body, so did Satan too, in that he helped me to think so. He made me understand it to be and impossible, suggested that I had imagined the vision that it might be Satan himself, and other
:

For all this the impression suppositions of that kind. remained with me that the vision was from God, and not an imagination but as it was not to my liking I forced myself to lie to myself, and as I did not dare to discuss the matter with anyone, and as great im portunity was used, I went back to my conversation with the same person, and with others also, at different times for I was assured that there was no harm in seeing such a person, and that I gained instead of
; ;

losing in reputation by doing so.


in this pestilent amusement, for it I was engaged in it to be so bad as

I spent many years never appeared when it really was, though

at times

saw

clearly that

it

was not good.

But no one

caused

me the same distraction as that person did of whom I am speaking and that was because I had a
;

great affection for her.

72
"

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


At another time when

I was with that person we both of us, saw, something like a great toad crawling towards us, more rapidly than such creatures have the I cannot understand how a reptile habit of moving. of that kind could, in the middle of the day, have come It never had done so before, forth from that place. but the impression it made upon me was such that neither have I I think it must have had a meaning With God of the ever forgotten it. Oh, greatness what care and tenderness didst Thou warn me in every way, and how little I profited by those warnings." These were not the only means chosen by Providence to warn Teresa. She was closely watched by an aged a nun revered for her virtues and her years. relative, Teresa says of her: "She warned me from time to time, but I not only did not listen to her, but I was even offended, thinking she was scandalized without Her father s talks with her, when they met, cause." Don Alonso, ever touched a more tender chord.
;
!

since

making
himself,

vowed
life

the sacrifice of his child to God, had though still living in the world, to a

of perfection.

He

frequently visited Teresa, and

under her direction and with the help of the books she procured for him, he gave himself up with ever increas
ing fervour to the practice of prayer. The holy man had a profound veneration for his beloved child, and looked upon her as being far advanced in the paths
of sanctity, and in the ways of that interior life in which she had long conducted him. Teresa, who was

already troubled at finding herself the object of uni versal esteem, would not suffer her father to be long under this delusion. I told him that I did not pray, but I did not give him the reason. I put my infirmities forward as an excuse for though I had recovered from that which was so troublesome I have alwavs been
"

SHE NEGLECTS MENTAL PRAYER


weak, even very
are

73

much
.

so

and though

my

infirmities

troublesome now, they still afflict Neither was it a sufficient me in many ways. reason for giving up a practice which does not require of necessity bodily strength, but only love and a habit thereof yet our Lord always furnishes an opportunity But my father having that for it, if we but seek it. and because of the love he me which of had, opinion he bore me, believed all I told him. And moreover he was sorry for me, and as he had now risen to great heights of prayer himself, he never remained with me for when he had seen me he went his way, long saying that he was wasting his time. As I was wasting it in other vanities I cared little about this. In spite of these excuses which Teresa made to herself, she suffered cruelly from her infidelities to She had had sufficient experience of divine grace.
less
.
.
;

somewhat

joys, and of interior consolations, to be athirst for them even in the midst of the empty distractions of which she speaks. These she submitted to, more from an

innate amiability which inclined her to yield to those around her, than from any personal satisfaction she found in them. She had, moreover, imposed upon herself as punishment of her faults the abandonment of the practice of mental prayer, as long as her state Teresa of lukewarmness and dissipation should last. had thus tied herself up in a vicious circle. She makes these admirable remarks on the subject in the nine
teenth chapter of her Life:
his batteries against me,
"

In this the devil turned

and I suffered so much be cause I thought it showed but little humility if I per severed in prayer when I was so wicked (as I have already said). I gave it up for a year and a half at least for a year, but I do not remember distinctly the other six months. This could not have been neither

74

THE
it
;

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

anything else, but to throw myself down to was no need of devils to drag me thither. Oh, my God, was there ever blindness so great as this? How well Satan prepares his measures for his purpose when he pursues us in this way The traitor knows that he has already lost that soul which perseveres in prayer, and that every fall that he can bring about
hell

was

there

helps it by the goodness of God to make greater pro gress in His service." These last words contain an apparent mystery which the saint hastens to explain. The page which follows is of with the Confessions of worthy comparison
St.

Augustine:

sight that
into sin,

"O my Lord and Saviour, what a must be a soul so highly exalted falling and raised up again by Thee Who in Thy

mercy stretched
a soul confesses

forth

Thy Hand

to save.

How

such

Thy greatness and compassion and its own wretchedness It looks upon itself as nothing It dares not lift up its ness, and confesses Thy power. eyes it raises them indeed, but it is to acknowledge how much it oweth to Thee. It comes direct to the Queen
!

of

Heaven

the saints

succour.

that she may propitiate Thee. It invokes who fell after Thou hadst called them, for Thou seemest to be now too bountiful in

be unworthy of the has recourse to the Sacraments, to a quickened faith, which abides in it at the contempla tion of the power which Thou hast lodged in them. It pains Thee because Thou hast left us such medicines and ointments for our wounds, which not only heal them on the surface, but remove all traces whatever of them. The soul is amazed at it. Who is there,
gifts,
it

Thy

because

it

feels itself to

ground

treads on.

It

Lord of my soul, that is not amazed at compassion so great and mercy so surpassing, after treason so foul and so hateful ? I know not how it is that my heart

HER TOUCHING REPENTANCE


does not break

75

when

write this, for

With these scanty tears Thy gift water out of


I

which
to

am

wicked. weeping, but yet


I
it

am

a well, which as far as

is

make Thee some amends mine is so impure as for treachery so great mine, in that I was always make void the graces Thou to doing evil, labouring O Do me. hast given Lord, make my tears Thou,
seem
avail, purify the troubled waters.
.
. .

Was

there ever

blindness so great as

should find away from the


I

mine? Where could I think What folly to run in Thee? but help
light, to

be for ever stumbling!

What

a proud humility was that which Satan devised for me, when I ceased to lean upon the pillar, and threw the staff away which supported me, in order that my fall

But how could my spirit be great. was going away in its misery from its tranquil? I remembered the graces and mercies I had true rest. received, and felt that the joys of this world were I am astonished that I was able to bear it. loathsome. It must have been the hope I had, for as well as I can remember, it was twenty-one years ago. I do not think I ever gave up my purpose of resuming my prayer, but I was waiting to be free from sin first. Oh, how de The devil would have luded I was in this expectation
might not be
It
.
. .

out before me till the day of judgment, that he Then when might then take me with him to hell. to spiritual reading I applied myself to prayer and whereby I might perceive these truths and the evil nature of the way in which I was walking, and used often to importunate our Lord with tears, I was so
held
it

wicked it availed me nothing." These are the bewailings of the great saint and the touching story of her repentance. Putting aside those passages of her life in which, in spite of all her efforts,
1

Life, ch. xix.

76

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

she allows glimpses of her unalterable goodness and piety to be perceived, we have chosen those in which she accuses herself with the greatest vehemence. Let us now lift the veil, one of tears and confusion, in which she loves to cover herself, and see what lies beneath in other words, what were really the errors and shortcomings of which she accuses herself. In the first place, we should note two points after reading and
:

analysing the passages we have just quoted. The first, that Teresa not only kept the divine precepts most doubt faithfully, but also the observance of the Rule less one relaxed by authorized mitigations, yet suffi ciently strict to maintain the greater number of the community of the monastery of the Incarnation in their primitive fervour for Teresa loves to record the regu lar and edifying life led in the house. Again, Teresa, though one of its youngest members, enjoyed the same confidence and liberty as her elders. She was esteemed, even venerated, and a trust was reposed in her which and it is (as she herself owns) she never abused under the shadow of this peaceful cloister that the days
;
;

were spent Protected by her and even more so by the virtues which rendered her worthy of it surrounded by companions whom she looked upon as guardian angels, attached to the tie that bound her, by her tastes and natural attrac it is thus that tion, and by a firm will to fulfil its duties
"great

of her

vanity"

religious habit,

Teresa presents herself to our gaze at the very time when she brands herself in her humility with every abusive epithet. This is the first conclusion to which
are led by her own admissions. In the second place, we are conscious of imperfec tions or, even more, of weaknesses, under the rich growth of natural virtues and supernatural gifts.

we

What then

are these weaknesses?

It is difficult

to dis-

HER INFLUENCE OVER HER FRIENDS

77

cover any amongst the saint s accusations, except possibly a too great readiness to yield to the demands made upon her time, her help, and her counsels. Teresa, though of undaunted courage when it was a
question of imposing sacrifices upon herself, or facing the trials involved in physical suffering, was weak indeed before a suppliant word, or the expression of a wish from her sisters and friends. Her great and lovinp heart longed to find a vent in helping others
it possible she for her possessed ascendancy ignore amongst those by whom she was surrounded. She had the gift of persuasiveness a born leader, she takes advantage of this power to lead to God all those

and working
to

for their happiness.

Nor was

the

with

whom

she comes

in

contact.

Her

delightful

company, which attracted so many to visit her, was in her hands but a means by which she might gain souls to Him, for she loses no opportunity of bringing round the conversation to the love of God and the happiness But to this truly apostolic work, of serving Him. other results, such as the praise of the crowd, their admiration, and the pursuit of her society, mingle with She is run after by the gay world of disastrous effect. Avila and has not strength to fight against the current.
delights them without intending absorbed in occupations and and thus becomes it, take which up all the leisure left her engagements
after a strict fulfilment of her religious duties for in

With her charming who ask for her; she

simplicity, she

is

ready to see

all

the

performance These are the vanities

of these
to

we know she never fails. which our saint gave way in


life

the early days of her religious

and bewailed

to her

dying day. That these imperfections and weaknesses were not without a graver side to them we may acknowledge

78

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

with Teresa, but in what sense? Every one at the last day will have to render an account of the gifts God has given them and of those to whom much has been given much will be required. That is the code of divine justice as formulated by our Divine Saviour Himself. Now Teresa from her earliest infancy had been over whelmed with favours from Heaven. Interior lights,
;

the

profound graces, supernatural attractions, and finally trial of great suffering had disposed her to enter, according to God s designs, on the paths of great God had called her to sanctity and heights of prayer. His service from the first moment of her existence, and had given her, more than once, some glimpse of His
infinite

beauty and perfections.

She had seen enough


in order the

to

go

in pursuit of

martyrdom

sooner to

long a battle rages within her. The world and the devil do their utmost, first with the young girl, then with the religious, to arrest her flight heavenward. They try to lead her means of away by giddy companions, to make her lose her time, to lessen her fervour. They hide their plot under appearances well fitted to deceive her. They drag her into a succession of visits of conversations under which the poor saint loses her recollection, and all in the name and under the guise of gratitude, con sideration for her neighbours, or on the plea of the good she can do to others by her advice. She leaves the path appointed for her by God she gives up mental prayer. Her dissipation of mind puts an obstacle to grace, which leaves her plunged in interior
;

possess the Sovereign Good But before sion of her heart.

Who

had taken posses

desolation.

Truly we have no

difficulty in

understand

ing her tears. She weeps, and she is right to bewail long hours thrown away in the company of creatures which she had been invited to spend with God and His

EXCEPTIONAL VOCATION NEGLECTED


angels.
at

79

it is right she should weep found pleasure in worldly vanities after having on heavenly manna. Infidelities fed been having which would have been trifling in others had a double

She weeps, and

gravity in her case that of divine love abandoned, and an exceptional vocation neglected. This is the extent of her wrongdoing, and he who would give it a wider significance but mistakes the If anyone is deceived by nature of her repentance. the vividness of Teresa s expressions into doubting the spotless character of our saint, we have but to answer with the admissions wrung from her by her strict sense Let us call to mind her sweetness, her of truth. charity, the success with which she avoided anything Let us in the shape of detraction in her conversation. remember her victories over self-love, her fidelity to her Rule, her numberless pious practices practices which she did not intermit, let it be noted, when she gave up mental prayer. Again, let us add one detail which she gives us later. u Notwithstanding all my
;

miseries,"

she says,
me."

"I

had always the

fear of the

Lord before
a life?
It

Where
vain

is

in

we

are the great sins in such search for them; and the

enlightened by holy Church, sound ing the veriest depths of this sublime character, has never found a stain on it which could sully Teresa s baptismal innocence. There is also another considera tion which we should like to put to our readers before concluding our review of this portion of Teresa s life. As we have said in a previous chapter, it was written after she had been drawn into closest union with her Divine Master, and had even been allowed to gaze Does not for a moment on His glorified Humanity. this fact alone throw great light on the saint s con fessions? Spiritual writers have said that though it is
strictest scrutiny,

So

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

probable that saints such as the Magdalene and St. Francis of Assisi equalled the Blessed in Heaven in their love of God, not one has ever equalled them in The reason of this is not far to seek. The humility. disembodied soul that has gazed on the Beatific vision, and beheld Him before Whom the angels tremble and
veil their faces,

sees his past

life

in a light in

which

he has never seen it before. It was in this light, less vivid indeed than that of one who has "gone beyond the veil," but incomparably greater than that vouch safed to common humanity, in which Teresa saw the heinousness of her imperfections, her ingratitude to

God for His favours, and her infidelity to grace. Can we be astonished at the depth of her anguish, or wonder at the burning words wrung from her by her
repentance? It has been customary to explain away the force of her expressions by attributing them to Would it not be nearer the mark pious exaggeration.
to say that truths

were visible

to her

which are hidden,

as a rule, in this life, to man? The Psalmist says: Delicta quis intelligit? Teresa could have answered,

had her humility allowed her, that through the mercy God she had been given some knowledge of sin, for For can we doubt the enlightenment of mankind. that this Life, which is one of the masterpieces of spirituality, and in which the guiding Hand of the Holy Spirit is revealed in every page, was written for our instruction as well as for our edification? And could a lesson of deeper significance be given to us than that of the heinousness of what we are accustomed to call so lightly "little sins," or of the terrible mis fortune to the soul (one which none but the greatest servants of God, such as St. Teresa, have realized this side of the grave) of neglect of divine grace and want
of
of correspondence to it?

CHAPTER
"THERESA

VII

S relations with her family, as we have already had occasion to notice, were ever of the most affectionate character and if her conscience reproached her for her too frequent conversations with seculars, she could not entertain the same scruples with regard to her intercourse with her father, and brothers,

For many years God had reigned alone of that holy household, and Don Alonso s chief object in his visits to the Convent of the Incarnation seems to have been that he might receive good advice and edification from his daughter. He was in the habit of rendering her account with
sisters.

and
in

the

hearts

touching simplicity of the graces he had received in He used to confide the fruits of his medita prayer.
tions to her,
in

and invite her to help him in the path which she had been the first to set his foot

The progress made by her father was a source of profound humiliation to Teresa, though it was at the same time one of great consolation to her. For here she felt, at least, that she was making amends to her Divine Saviour for her own in
steps.
fidelities.

she cries, was well aware that I was the voice of conscience, which was ever resisting telling me that I was not serving God as I should have done, so in order not to lose the entire profit of the
"Alas,"
"I

light

which His Divine Majesty had accorded me,


G
8
r

82

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

endeavoured to communicate them to fervent souls who were able to benefit by them in my place." Don Alonso took the first place amongst this number. Under Teresa s direction his piety, which though always solid, had till then been of a timid and rigorous character, expanded with a new perception of the wonders of Divine love. He read less, and prayed more, and already he tasted in prayer the joys of Heaven.
It was, as it were, the crowning consolation of a patri archal life, which had been spent in good works and in the exercise of the duties of the head of a family. One day a sad message arrived at the monastery of

the Incarnation
for

Don Alonso was dying and asked

daughter. Teresa, with her superior s per mission, at once betook herself to her father s side, and she soon perceived that death was not far distant. Alonso s last wish was to die in the company of her whom he looked upon as the angel of his house, and to hear once more that dearly loved voice speaking to
his

him of
all

eternal joys.

"Though in

losing

him,"

Teresa says,

"I

the comfort and good of my life, to me, I had the courage never to betray concealing them till he was dead, as if I
all.
I

for he

was to was all

lose
this

my
felt

sorrows,

none

at

It

saw

seemed as my very soul were wrenched when him at the point of death, my love for him was so
if

It was a matter for which we ought to praise our Lord the death that he died and the desire that he had to die. So also was the advice he gave us after how he charged us to recommend the last anointing him to God, and to pray for mercy for him, how he bade us serve God always, and consider how all things come to an end. He told us, with tears, how grieved he was that he had not better served Him himself, for he wished he had been a friar in one of the strictest

deep.

DEATH OF DON ALONSO


Orders.

8^

suffering was a most acute pain in the shoulders, which never left him it was so sharp at times that it put him to acute torture. I said to him that as he had so great a devotion to our
;

... His

chief

Cross on His shoulders, he should carryingthink that His Majesty wished him to feel some what of the pain which He then suffered Himself. This so comforted him that I do not think I heard him complain afterwards. He remained three days without consciousness; but on the day he died our Lord restored him so completely that it astonished us all. He pre served his understanding to the last, for in the middle of the credo, which he repeated himself, he died. He lay there like an angel, and such he seemed

Lord

His

now

to
.

say so, in soul and disposition. His confessor, a most learned Dominican, used to say he had no doubt he went straight to Heaven."
if
I
. .

may

me,

above mentioned
last

It was perhaps the blessing of her dying father which obtained for Teresa the decisive graces which recalled her to her rightful path. Father Vincent Barren, the

friar,

moments with

touched the daughter s heart. She begged him to hear her confession arid her soul, lacerated by sorrow broke asunder her "chains" (as she was accustomed to call them) and found relief in humbling admissions such as those which we have already read in her life. Father Barren, who was not only a good theologian but a holy and enlightened man, perceived at once the nature of the soul which Providence had confided to him for direction. Teresa, on her side, felt herself for the first time in her life understood. Till then she had never made a spiritual manifestation of her conscience except to those who, in her opinion, judged her too leniently, who had reassured her on the state of her
;

assisted the dying man in his a devotion and piety which deeply

84
soul,

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

with seculars, and approved of her relations in the conversations her in found nothing blameworthy sole error, doubtless, was to lead Their parlour. Teresa in the path of the ordinary nun desirous of
into consideration leading a good life, without taking had God upon her, nor the the exceptional designs The Domi received. had she very exceptional graces the solved question with nican, greater spiritual insight, meditations, her her resuming by insisting upon she said, "and from that moment never have obeyed," This was the of prayer." the I abandoned

practice

prudent director s first injunction. s bringing Teresa back to God feet,


give herself

He knew
in

that in

up anew

to the attraction

obliging her to of her Divine

of grace Master, he could ensure the speedy triumph to the more ever was which soul open in this

generous

of punishment. Thus, appeal of love than to the threat without insisting on her making a sacrifice of habits in which he saw nothing to condemn, he was satisfied with committing her into God s hands by means of the
practice of mental prayer.

Teresa accordingly
of her existence.
fare,
It

now

entered into another phase

was a period of suffering and war


;

times of inexpressible bitterness in short, thirteen years, lasting from twelve to which had for its object the formation of a great saint, with all her natural beauty of character preserved, and

and

at

crucifixion

a supernatural beauty added to


It

it.

from our purpose to give the history of this interior conflict, which Teresa has described in terms as vivid as were her sufferings. But before to the listening to her account, let us give one moment

would be

far

consideration of the real state of her soul at a time when her humility had sought to bade it under a

cloak of shame and repentance.

TERESA S INTERIOR SUFFERINGS


to

85

Should we even admit that she had been unfaithful

God during the preceding years of her life, we can do so no longer now that she was faithful to the practice Nevertheless she had not yet acquired that of prayer. had of purity of conscience to which He Who degree chosen her for the confidant of His Heart, and for the contemplation of His unspeakable Beauty, wished to She had not broken those ties, legitimate raise her. though they were, which yet bound her to creatures, and impeded her flight heavenward. She desired to
give herself wholly to her beloved Master, but she still trembled before certain sacrifices, which she feared for herself only because she imposed them at the same time upon others. These trials to her loving heart were a torture indeed, but this process of purification

disposed her, unconsciously, to enter into that intimate

and close union with God which was to follow, when As Teresa s grace had completed its work in her soul. heart was her vulnerable point, it is there that God s hand is raised to strike her. became most wretched, be she tells us, My cause I learned in prayer more and more of my faults. On one side God was calling me, on the other I was
" "

life,"

following the world.

much
world.
to

pleasure, yet
. .

was captive

All the things of God gave me to the things of the


!

Oh, Lord of my soul how shall 1 be able the graces which Thou in those years didst magnify how didst Thou prepare me at the bestow on me I offended Thee most, in a moment by a time that very
. !

most profound compunction to Thy consolations and mercies

taste of the
!

sweetness of

Thou

didst

administer to

me

In truth, () my King, the most delicate and


;

painful chastisement it for Thou knewest well

was possible for me to bear what would have given me

most pain.

Thou

didst chastise

my

sins with great

86

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


I

consolations.
it

not saying foolish things, am beside myself when may though ever I call to mind my ingratitude and my wickedness. It was more painful for me, in the state I was in, to
trust
I

am

well be that

receive graces, when I had fallen into grievous faults, than it would have been to receive chastisements for one of those faults I am sure used to bring me low, shame and distress me more than many diseases, together with many heavy trials, could have done. For as to the latter I saw that I deserved them, and it seemed to me
;

that

by them I was making some slight reparation for my though it was but slight, for my sins were But when I see myself receive graces anew, many. after being so ungrateful for those already received, that is to me and I believe to all who have any
sins

knowledge or love of God a fearful kind of torment. Hence my tears and trouble of mind when I reflected on what I felt, seeing myself in a condition to fall at every moment, though my resolutions and desires then were strong." Soon, however, Heaven appeared to have sided with our saint, and her martyrdom took another form.
Celestial joys deserted her, consolations disappeared, her sweetness in prayer was changed for aridity. Her became a when her and sad down prayer long torture, cast soul had to endure the weariness of "remaining long in the company of One who has nothing in com mon with us."

she goes on to say, I was very often more occupied with the wish to see the end of the time I had appointed for myself to spend in prayer, and in watching the hour-glass, than with other thoughts that were good. If a sharp penance had been laid upon me, I know of none that 1 would not very often have willingly undertaken, rather than prepare myself for
"

For some

"

years,"

HER PERSEVERANCE

87

And certainly the violence prayer, by self-recollection. with which Satan assailed me was so irresistible, or my evil habits were so strong, that I did not betake myself to prayer and the sadness I felt on entering the oratory
;

was so great

that

it

required

all

the courage

had

to

They say of me that my courage is not slight, and it is known that God has given me courage beyond that of most women, but I have made
force myself in.

a bad use of it. In the end our Lord came to my help and then when I had done this violence to myself I found greater peace and joy than I sometimes had when I had a desire to pray."
;

For many years Teresa was to endure this state of It would require a heart like privation and desolation. which had tasted the chalice of divine delights to hers, the full to understand the trials of deprivation. He who had pursued her with His graces amidst the tepidities of past years, retired and hid Himself now that she had begun to seek Him with all her heart. Heaven, which had half opened over her infant head so that she had caught sight of its beauty the thought of which had supported her in her struggles against her
vocation, in the anguish of her sickness, in the perils even of her days of dissipation Heaven even seemed closed to her it had retreated behind the clouds the skies became as it were of brass. Thus the days and the youth of the saint, the brightest and fairest of life,
;
;

tired her constancy love. The morning


;

flowed on without happiness, without joy. Yet nothing nothing daunted the ardour of her found her prostrate in her oratory in the place which she had bathed in tears the preced

ing day. She sought for pious thoughts in spiritual books which her mind was incapable of originating. She humbled herself, she submitted herself to God, she prayed, and waited, and hoped, and abandoned

88

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


That was the daily prayer of

herself into His hands.

this great saint for fourteen years; a consoling example for the much-tried soul who treads a similar path.

During this long period of time there were few changes in Teresa s outward existence. Family cares, Juana s marriage to Juan de Ovalle, an excellent gentle man of Salamanca, are the only events which can be

The community of the became every year more numerous. A hundred and fifty nuns formed a society of pious souls whose fervour was a source of edifica
recalled at this distance of time.

monastery of the Incarnation

tion

to

the

neighbouring

city.

Unfortunately

this

the resources of the monastery, and left it, in a sense, at the mercy of the friendly externs who supported it with their gifts. Accordingly the

number exceeded

parlours continued to be
r

much

frequented, and of

all

whose presence w as desired


request than Teresa.

there,

none were more

in

in this century in which we live it is difficult to charm that society in ancient days found in their relations with the cloister. But with regard to Avila the explanation is simple. This little city had risen through its faith, and faith was still its food its
realize the

To Avila, peopled as it was by sons of the Crusaders, and cut off by its situation from the stream of life, with no commercial activities and no easy communication with the great towns, its churches, oratories, and even its monasteries were the centres
daily bread.

around which

it moved and gravitated. The great ladies, the illustrious knights, disputed, one with the other, the rights of according their protection to the great monastic families and, in exchange for favours given, they asked for audience with the nuns or monks in order to learn the mysteries of prayer, or to become initiated
;

into the secrets of the cloister

secrets

which offered a

TERESA BEGINS A NEW LIFE

89

These strange attraction to their austere tastes. the entanglements, for the last time let it be said, under the yoke of which Teresa lamented whilst submitting to it, and which for reasons of policy, as well as of grati tude, she found such extreme difficulty in shaking off. The day which the Lord had chosen dawned at last and what fourteen years of prayers, tears,
;

were

and struggles had failed to effect was accomplished in one moment by one look from Him. The Lent of the year 1555 was about to end with the sweet though sad memories of the Passion. Teresa had reached her fortieth year, when the hour of grace sounded which was to give her wholly to God. This is
her account of that great moment It came to pass one day when I went into the oratory that I saw a picture which they had put there,
:
"

and which had

been procured for a certain feast observed in the house. It was a representation of Christ most grievously wounded, and so devotional that the very sight of it when I saw it moved me, so
well did
it show So keenly did I

forth that

which

He

suffered for us.


I

feel the evil


I

return

had made

for

I thought my threw myself on the ground beside it, my tears flowing plenteously, and implored Him to strengthen me once I for all, so that I might never offend Him any more. had a great devotion to the glorious Magdalen, and very frequently used to think of her conversion. ... I used to recommend myself to that great saint so that But this last time, before she might obtain my pardon. that picture of which I spoke, I seem to have made

those wounds, that

heart would break.

greater

progress, for
all

myself, placing me that I said to

my Him

I was now very distrustful of It seems to confidence in God. that I would not rise up till He
I

granted

my

petition.

do certainly believe that

this

90

THE
great

LIFE OF SAINT
to

TERESA
I

was of great service

me, because since then

have

made

progress."

This great and signal grace was soon to be followed by another. Our Lord had first spoken to Teresa s heart through His picture He now spoke to her through a book. Presently He was to speak to her Himself in the same manner as He converses with His It angels. would appear as if the divine Voice, before making Itself heard directly, wished to adopt more and more spiritualized forms in order to lift Teresa from earth to Heaven by a gradual ascent, whose steps remind us of the words of the Psalmist Beatus mr cnjus est auxilium
;
<

abs
"

te

ascensiones incorde suo


afterwards,"

disposuit"
"

Teresa says, the Confessions of St. Augustine were given me. Our Lord seems to have so ordained it, for I did not seek them myself, neither had I ever seen them before. I had a very great devotion to St. Augustine because he had been a sinner, for I used to find great comfort in those saints whom, after they had sinned, our Lord had converted to Himself. I thought they would help me, and that as our Lord had forgiven them so also He would forgive me. When I began to read the Con
Shortly
.
.

thought I saw myself there described, and recommend began myself greatly to this glorious saint. When I came to his conversion, and read how he heard the voice in the garden, it seemed to me
fessions
I

to

than that our Lord had uttered it for me. my heart. I remained for some time lost in tears in great inward affliction and distress. God be

nothing
I

less

felt it in

my soul obtained great strength from His Divine Majesty, and that He must have heard my cry and have had compassion on
!

praised so fatal

Who

gave me
I

life,

so that

might escape from

a death

believe that

my many

tears."

THE CONFESSIONS OF
On
ever
that
all

ST.

AUGUSTINE
to earth.

91
for

day of deep repentance Teresa broke


still

the ties that

bound her

Her

great soul was born again beneath the same ray of light and grace which brought life to her brother in genius, tenderness, and sanctity St. Augustine and, more blessed even than that great saint, she could go to her Saviour s arms robed in her baptismal innocence, and take that place amongst His children which He seems to have reserved especially to the pure of heart.
;

CHAPTER
"

VIII

beloved to me and I to Him," this was the key-note of the song" of Teresa s heart during the days which succeeded the events related in the last She had passed, to use her own expression, chapter. from death to life, and now reposed peacefully on the bosom of her Saviour. A youthful current appeared to circulate once more in her veins, notwithstanding her forty years, and a new existence to open out before her. If Teresa did not at this point of her life herself come to our assistance, what we should have to say about her would be little more than conjecture. B.ut she was obliged (as we shall see later on) to disclose, in spite of her humility, under holy obedience, the inmost secrets of her heart for the glory of God, and the good
1\

iVA

yT

of souls.
story.

It is for

The

Teresa, and for her alone, to tell her instant she takes her flight to the heights

of contemplation,

God appears

to

come

to her assist

ance, and to give her power to put her thoughts on the deepest and most abstruse subjects, such as her locu

and ecstasies, in language which is equally and profound. To this power she adds a scientific knowledge Avhich embraced not only the fruits of personal experience, but of a deep and
tions
brilliant
1

Vincent e de la Fueafe, one of the saint s many biographers, skives a high idea of her mental equipment. He says that before going to the Augustinians she was looked upon as a persona de instruction y de
"

imagination viva highest education

v fccnnda
"

and at that convent she received the education mas esuiarada" of the day.
";

92

TERESA AS A MYSTICAL WRITER

93

exhaustive study of the writings of eminent divines, both of her own day and of days gone by. This human science was allied in her with the divine which she gathered from her frequent com
lights
Till the epoch in which munications with Heaven. she lived (the Spanish editor of her works remarks) ascetic literature had been entirely in the hands of the student of the Bible and its commentators, of men

accustomed

use of scholastic language, and of the definitions and controversies of the schools. Teresa speaks her own thoughts in her own language, is easy for all which, though her words are well chosen, of her elevation to understand. Nothing can exceed the She of her diction. pleases thoughts, or the simplicity the unlearned, the pious and and learned the equally She has, in short, popularized mystical the worldly.
to

the

theology
truths

by making
to

it

accessible

to

all

bringing

home

the many which had hitherto been

restricted to the few, to the student, or to the inhabitant

of the cloister.

be period of her history, it a into life her of observed, changes the narrative the follow in reason the She gives treatise on prayer. If what I have said be not correct, let ing words: him to whom I send it destroy it for he knows better

The

saint at

this

will

"

than

do what is wrong in it. I entreat him for the love of our Lord to publish abroad what I have thus far I give him said of my wretched life, and of my sins. confessors all to also, of whom leave to do so and my be to is this whom sent, if it be their he is one, to I may no longer deceive that so pleasure during my life, some good in me. people who think there must be such publication all in sincerity Certainly I speak to that which I as But comfort. me will give great such no I to leave, nor if am now going give say
I
;
;

94
it

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


be shown to any one do
I

consent to

its

being said

who the person is whose experience it describes, nor who wrote it. I have written it in the best way I could in order not to be known and this I beg of them for If our Lord has given me the grace the love of God.
;

to say things that are right it is to Him I owe am neither learned or of good life. I have as
to steal the time,

it,

for

and that with

difficulty,
;

were because my
it

spinning I am living in a house that is poor, and have many things to do." 1 Even if the secrecy which Teresa asks for so earnestly had been preserved, yet her book would have betrayed detect her, for she alone could have written it. her from life own interior in knowledge gained every
writing hinders

me from

We

line we read. She knows by experience the labour, the sweat with which the furrow has to be bedewed before it is watered from Heaven. Those aridities, those

struggles, those disgusts, are the secrets of her own soul communing with God. She also it is who has

wept those tears of consolation, who has experienced those divine touches, penetrating and ineffable. In one must short, it is the history of the saint s soul
;

read

it

in order to

know

her.

She begins by casting one look, full of sorrow and 2 O Lord of my soul, and my repentance, on the past. sovereign Good, when a soul is determined to love Thee
"

doing
it

all it

can by forsaking

all

things in order that

may the better occupy itself with the love of God is it not Thy will it should have the joy of ascending at once
to the possession of perfect love?
1

have spoken amiss,

The

saint wrote this at St. Joseph s Avila, the first convent of the

Reform.
2

We

give here, and

in

x. to xxii. in

Teresa

s LiJ\\

the succeeding- pages, extracts from chapters which have for their subject the saint s states

of prayer.

HER EXPERIENCES
I

IN

PRAYER

95

ought

to

have
is
it

said,

and

my

been,

why

our own that

For the we do not rejoice at once

we do not?

complaint should have fault is wholly


in a dignity so

great, seeing that the attaining to the perfect possession think so of this love brings all blessings with it. much of ourselves, and are so dilatory in giving

We

ourselves wholly to God, that as His Majesty will not let us have the fruition of that which is so precious but at a great cost, so neither do we perfectly prepare our I see selves for it. plainly that there is nothing by which so great a good can be procured in this world. If however we did what we could, not clinging to any thing upon earth but having all our thoughts and conversation in Heaven, I believe that this blessing would quickly be given us, provided we perfectly prepared ourselves for it at once, as some of the
saints

have done.
but in
fact

We

think

we

are giving

all

to

God
the

are offering only the revenue or produce, while we retain the fee-simple of the
;

we

land in our own possession. of seeking the love of God

A
!

We

pleasant
retain

way
our

this

own

affections, and yet will have that love, as they say, in handfuls. make no efforts to bring our desires to

We
is

good effect, or to and yet with all


tions.

raise
this

them

resolutely above the earth,

This

we must have spiritual consola not well, and we are seeking things
other."

incompatible one with the

returns to her here of those years of indecision and weakness by which, in spite of her
natural force of character, she had been so long kept She has also known a worse pitfall, that of false back.
humility,

The thought

which thinks that

in

"

shutting

its

eyes to

God s grace it is performing an act of virtue." For how should these graces excite our love if we do not realize, even, that we have received them, or dare to look

96

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

them in the face? The more we see that of ourselves we are poor, and rich only through God s gifts the more we shall advance in true humility, whereas a too
great fear of vainglory depresses the soul s strength by persuading her that she is incapable of any good action. The timid, discouraged soul shuts itself up in a narrow rut out of which it trembles to move. "She walks at the pace of a tortoise, and is satisfied with

hunting

little

lizards."

The

devil persuades such a

soul that there


in

would be pride in lifting her desires and higher, hiding from her the example of the saints,

matters imitable as well as admirable, he deludes her into thinking that poor sinners like her have nothing in common with the lives led by them. Such are the snares in which Teresa has been caught. Therefore she indignantly denounces the enemy of our souls It would doubtless be wrong in a person who is
:
"

weak and

sickly to

undergo much

penances, to retire into the desert, sleep or find anything to eat, or


austerities of this kind.

fasting, and sharp where he could not

indeed to undertake

But we ought to think any that we can force ourselves by the grace of God to hold the world in profound contempt, to make light of We honours, and be detached from our possessions.
also imitate the saints by striving after solitude and many other virtues that will not kill these wretched bodies of ours, which insist on being treated in so orderly a manner that they disorder the

may

and

silence,

soul, able.

and Satan helps much

to

he sees us a little anxious about them, he wants nothing more to convince us that our way of life must kill us 1 have passed through this, therefore I
;

When

make them unmanage

know

it.

But when
Satan
I

it

pleased
I

God

to let

me

find out

this device of

suggested that

used to say to him when he was ruining my health, that my death


s,

FALSE HUMILITY DESCRIBED


;

97

replied that I did not so on with the rest.

was of no consequence when he suggested rest, I want rest, but the Cross and
;

since

health has been much better have ceased to look after my ease and comfort."
it

My

The

illusion of false humility,

will be

remembered,

was one

of those

which helped

to

resuming the practice of prayer. since her father s death, she had resumed it "never to but these years had passed amidst the drop it again
"

keep Teresa from For fourteen years,

Our saint has already spoken of them, and she returns to them in order to describe the progress of a soul in divine grace, and, as she says, to start with its early She has first noted beginnings.
trials of desolation.

the preliminary points ject, which is that of a


"A

she

now launches on
"must

her sub

life

of prayer.

beginner,"

she

tells us,

look upon him

a garden wherein our Lord may take His delight, but in a soil unfruitful, and abounding in weeds. His Majesty roots up the weeds, and has to have then, as good gardeners, plant good herbs. by the help of God, to see that the plants grow, to water them carefully so that they may not die, but produce

self as

making

We

blossoms

which shall send forth much fragrance refreshing to our Lord, so that He may come often for His pleasure in this garden, and delight Himself in their midst.
"

that
to

now see how this garden is to be watered, we may understand what we have to do. It seems me that the garden may be watered in four
Let us

by water taken out of a


or with

ways

well,

which

is

very laborious

by means of an engine and buckets or by a stream, whereby the garden is watered in a much better way, for the soil is more thoroughly saturated, and there is no necessity to water it so often, and the labour of the gardener is much less
raised
;

water

98

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

or by showers of rain, for then our Lord Himself waters it without labour on our part; and this way is incom parably better than all the others of which I have

spoken.
"

Now for the application

of these four

ways

of irriga

tion

by which the garden is to be maintained for with out \vater it must fail and these I apply to the four degrees of prayer with which our Lord of His goodness
has at times raised my soul. Of those who are beginners in prayer we may say that they are those who draw the water up out of the
"

well, a process which, as I have said, is very laborious; for they must be wearied in keeping the senses recol
lected,

and this is a great labour, because the senses have hitherto been accustomed to distractions. God By water here I grant, also, there may be water in it mean tears, and if there be none, then tenderness and an inward feeling of devotion. What then will he do here who sees that for many days he is conscious only of aridity, disgust, and dislike, and so great an unwillingness to go to the well for water that he would give it up altogether if he did not remember that he has What to please and serve the Lord of the garden ? then will the gardener do now? He must rejoice, and
!

take comfort, and consider labour in the garden of the

it

King

as the greatest favour to and as he of Kings


;

pleasing Him in the matter and his purpose must not be to please himself, but Him let him praise Him greatly for the trust he has in Him. Let him help Him to carry the Cross, and let him think how He carried it all His life long; let him not seek his kingdom here, nor intermit his prayer if this Teresa aridity should last even his whole life long." in here order her to pour forth counsel and stops

knows

that he

is

encouragement upon the hapless gardener.

It is

now

HELPS

IN

PRAYER

99

our task to return to her history, and to confine our quotations to those passages which illustrate her own
spiritual
life.

In the

first

place,

it

is

of interest to note

what were the subjects of her meditation when she was


at this early stage.

could not make reflections with my under standing, 1 used to picture Christ as within me, and I used to like best those mysteries of His life
I

As

which

He was most
nearer to

lonely.

being alone and

afflicted

He
In

during seemed to me that must needs permit me to


It

particular I used to find most at home in the myself prayer in the Garden whither I went in His company. I thought of the and of the affliction He endured there. I bloody sweat, wished, if it had been possible, to wipe away that but I remember that I painful sweat from His face never dared to form such a resolution my sins stood before me so grievously. I used to remain with Him there as long as my thoughts allowed me. I never dared to start praying without a book. Sometimes I read much, sometimes little, according to the grace that was given me. It was a help to me also to look on fields, water, and flowers. In them I saw traces of
;

come

Him.

some could
within

I mean that the sight of things was as a book to me they roused me, made me recollected, and reminded me of my ingratitude and my sins. As regards Heaven and other supernatural objects, my understanding was too unimaginative for me to be able to picture them to Never could I represent to myself. myself what I could not see with my as

the Creator

do.

me by an act of faith." Convinced as Teresa was that divine love consists in serving God in justice and truth, with courage and humility, and not in resting on the enjoyment of His

bodily eyes, could only see our Saviour present

ioo

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

to favours, she guarded herself from ever giving way too great a joy in consolation, or too lively a sorrow when in desolation. And if this interior abnegation the saint tells us utterly beyond our powers,

appears

what we should do
4

in

order to acquire

it.

By

taking

care to remain ever in the company of our Saviour, the soul who sees Him constantly before her, becomes inflamed little by little with a tender love for Him.

She speaks to Him she intreats Him when she is in want she complains to Him when she is in trouble she rejoices with Him, and ever her heart is full of By this means the soul makes much progress, joy." and being drawn insensibly from its worship of self, is submerged, with all its pleasures and its pains, in the
; ;

adorable Heart, of Jesus. With such dispositions nothing is necessary save to of spirit. proceed with a firm step and a holy liberty Some persons are much mistaken in The saint says if they thinking all their consolation will leave them Doubt cease for a moment to watch over themselves. less it is always well to mistrust oneself, but there are harmless recreations which we do well to take in order to return to prayer afterwards with the greater ardour.
"

Discretion

is

necessary above

all

things

also confi

dence

in

God, and a generous heart no

less so.

We

must not narrow our ideas. If the saints had not had the perfection great aspirations, would they have reached attained by them? God asks courage of souls; He is and pleased with them as long as they remain humble, as we see with young if their strength fails them birds whose wings are weak though they are ex hausted and have to breathe, yet they have flown great
distances."

The dominant note of Teresa s instructions to others as regards a path which she has followed herself,

THE FIRST DEGREE OF PRAYER


is

101

that

it

should be pursued with firmness and courage.


ever at the practice of solid virtue, and of

To aim

generous actions with a humility untinged with dis couragement to pray fervently in spite of natural to meditate with repugnance, or the trial of aridity to simplicity on the mysteries of our Saviour s life keep in His presence, expect all things from His love for us, and to abandon ourselves entirely to Him order to follow Him even on to Mount Calvary, helping Him to carry the Cross, and never leaving Him alone to bear its burden these are the solid foundations on which Teresa bases the edifice of prayer. This is the first degree to which all may attain, and all perse
;

"in

"

by the ordinary succour of divine grace. A this degree may be very holy and perfect, and none should seek to mount higher by their own strength at the risk of being punished for their temerity. For those ardent desires which Teresa loves so much- knowing how pleasing they are to God have for their object, not sensible joys which our Lord grants where and when He will, and which are a pure gift of His mercy, but a greater pro gress in self-abnegation and in solid virtue. Our saint insists, therefore, on the excellence and
vere
in,

soul

who has never soared above

In following security of this simple road of prayer. it there are less dangers to be feared, and fewer illusions

apprehended, than in the higher and more ad vanced paths and God, Who is master of the favours He bestows, Meads souls with different graces to an 1 Teresa herself, with few equal state of perfection." of exceptions supernatural favours, had followed this humble path from the commencement of her religious life. We have heard how much it cost her, continually, to get through her hour s meditation, in consequence
;
1

to be

Bossuet.

102

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


It

of her repugnance and her distractions.

was now

God
call,

s will
;

prayer with her, her conversion, she was to receive the earliest foreshadowing of those extraordinary graces with which her life was ever afterwards to b j inundated. An almost habitual tenderness of devotion began at this time to replace her former aridity, and soon she was constantly seized while at prayer, or even when listening to spiritual reading, with a profound senti ment of the presence of God. 1 The time of rest had come. Teresa had no longer to draw water from the well by the sweat of her brow. "Let us now," she of the second manner of says, "speak drawing the water which the Lord of the vineyard has ordained of the machine of wheel and buckets whereby the gardener may draw water with less labour, and be able to take some rest without being continually at work. This,
;

reward her for twenty years fidelity to and very shortly after the time which we will
to

to describe, and I apply called the Herein the prayer prayer of quiet. soul begins to be recollected it is now touching on the supernatural, for it could never by any efforts of

then,
it

is

what

am now going

to the

its

own

attain to this.

True,

it

seems

at times to

been wearied
the water
less.
I

at the wheel, but in this

have second degree


is

is

higher, and accordingly the labour

much

mean the water is nearer to it, for grace reveals itself more distinctly to the soul." Here Teresa indicates the essential characteristics of this kind of prayer. The precision and correctness
of doctrine with
treatise

which she expresses herself in this that the great mystical writers of the eighteenth century treated her decisions as authorita tive, and final in their works on mental prayer.

was such

This was the supernatural recollection which usually precedes the prayer of quiet, as Teresa explains elsewhere.
1

THE PRAYER OF QUIET


To
rules

103

follow her in her admirable dissertation on the

by which illusions may be distinguished from realities, and the natural from the supernatural, would
Let us seek rather to penetrate take us too long. now enlight further into the sanctuary of her soul ened and transfigured under the direct action of the

Holy Ghost.

incredible to

not to a limit to His omnipotence? Is it not possible that His Hand, which opens in order to "fill every living creature with benediction," should pour forth a greater abundance of grace on those pure and fervent souls who love Him better, and serve Him more devoutly than do the greater number of His children? Is it not

If what we are about to relate appears some of our readers, we entreat of them judge of the work of God rashly. Can we set

conceivable that God should reward, even in this life, exceptional love by privileges which man grants joy fully to a fellow man when he admits him into his confidence, and tells him all the secrets of his life?

And
is

if this divine familiarity, this unspeakable union, a difficulty to the soul that does not love, is it any to the one who humbly adores without pretending

to

understand? Let us listen

now

to

what Teresa has

to

say to us

In this prayer (of quiet) there is a gathering together of the faculties of the soul within itself, in order that it
"

may have
sweetness
;

the fruition of that contentment in greater but the faculties are not lost, neither are

they asleep. The will alone is occupied in such a way that, without knowing how it has become a captive, it gives a simple consent to become a prisoner of God. "This simple act, this sweet repose of the will, does not last long without being interrupted by the other

powers, the understanding and the memory wishing to break from their inaction trouble the soul instead of

io 4

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


;

should never heed them at and quiet. For if it tried to make them recollected it would miss its way altogether with them, because they are at this time like doves which are not satisfied with the food the master of the dovecot gives them without any labouring for it on their part, and so go forth in quest of it else
it

being of use to it all, simply abiding

but

in its fruition

where, and hardly find it when they come back. And so the memory and the understanding come and go if it be our Lord s pleasure to throw them any food if not they stop, they go again to seek it. The soul would lose much if it troubled itself with them. The understanding would present it with fine discourses

and grand considerations, and the little spark of divine love would soon be smothered under these logs of

wood

that

is

to

say,

these

learned

reasonings

whereas with a few bits of straw, namely, some simple acts of humility, and abandonment to the divine will, the spark becomes a great fire. The soul (with the help of the graces she has now received) is already ascending out of its wretched state, and some little knowledge of the blissfulness of glory is communicated to it. It begins to lose the desire of earthly things and no wonder, for it sees already that even for a moment this joy is not to be had on earth, that there are no riches, no dominion, no honour, no delight that can for one instant, even for the twinkling of an eye, minister such a joy. The soul which has never en joyed greater bliss thinks there is nothing further to wish for, and would gladly make its abode there, and say with St. Peter Lord, it is good for us to be
;
:

here
so

is this state which Teresa describes as being of delight? She calls it, as we have heard, the prayer of quiet. The name by which it is commonly

What
full

CONTEMPLATION

105

known is that of contemplation, or of passive prayer. One example instinctively presents itself to the Chris tian memory, as it embodies what may be considered It is that of Mary seated at its prominent features.
our Lord
to
s feet,

silent,

at peace,

profoundly attentive

His words, and forgetful of all else in order the There is now no need of long better to hear them. no intellectual studied or of petitions discourses,
;

required to master the truth, either by to look at the Master, or by reflection reasoning and listen to His words is the whole work of con
efforts

are

templation. But there are degrees even in contemplation. God may at first only allow the smallest rays of His glory to be seen by the soul, and even these may be veiled to

her sight and yet this is enough to capture the love But the more piercing and direct of the favoured one. the divine manifestation the greater will be the increase of her joy, and these joys, too great for human en
;

durance, arc the cause of rapture in the saints effects which we soon shall be called upon to witness in the case of St. Teresa. As she has just told us, her prayer was nothing but a profound recollection, a blessed peace in which her soul imbibed at the same moment consolation and Our Lord was drawing ever nearer to her, strength. and discovering Himself more to her soul and as the influence of grace intensifies, our saint enters into a profound agony of inexpressible delight. She is
;

conscious of being almost dead to the things of this world and lost in a rapture of happiness in the thought
of

God.
"This
"is

method of prayer," she says, in my opinion a very sure manifestation of the union of the soul with God only His Majesty allows the power in
;

106

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

her to be aware of the great work He is doing there, and they only act in order to occupy themselves with Him, and are incapable of any other thought and without His orders they would not dare to move. It would be necessary to make a most violent effort to distract them from this divine occupation, and then it would not succeed in turning them entirely away from
;

this

divine Object. tender transport

The

soul lifted out of itself by


to

would wish
all

break

out

into

heavenly canticles, so that the excess of her gladness.


bless

in her should testify She longs to praise and

for His benefits, but without order or unless He should put this into them. She regularity, foolish says many things, but these follies do not dis Him has please put her into this state."

God

Who

owns that whilst writing these lines she is possessed by this celestial folly, and that her soul would remain absorbed in this song of love and praise, but that she remembers the duty of obedience which obliges her to go on with her book. The soul," she says, understands that God is His work without doing any fatigue of the understand it as seems to me, it is amazed in ing, except that, our Lord let the soul undergo to beholding refusing labour that of but whatever, any taking its pleasure in
saint
"

The

the flowers beginning to send forth their fragrance. In one of these visits, how brief soever it may be, the

Gardener being who He is pours the water without stint, and what the poor soul, with the labour of twenty
years in fatiguing the understanding could not bring about, that the heavenly Gardener accomplishes in an instant, causing the fruit both to grow and to ripen. Finally, the virtues are now stronger than they were, for the soul sees itself to be other than it was, and knows not how it is beginning to do great things it

HUMILITY THE TOUCHSTONE

107

being our Lord s will that the flowers should open. Now, too, the humility of the soul is much greater, and deeper than it was before." The saint in Humility is ever the touchstone. all the its spirit of God presence recognizes seeing her interior consolations she would treat as delusions unless they left her utterly annihilated in the presence To of God, and abased her more in her own sight. the of an infant re confidence would she join humility
;

posing on
"When

its

mother

bosom.

prayer,

He

our Lord raises a soul to this degree of asks only of her a simple consent to the

graces which He is prepared to pour down upon her, and an entire abandonment of herself to His good He wills to dispose of her as of something pleasure.
that
is

entirely

His."

Confidence

in

God, mistrust of

self,

a force of char
:

acter inspired by hope, but kept straight by humility this is what Teresa understands and teaches admirably,
this
is

what conveys a lesson

to

which she returns

are the soul s wings, whatever may be her state of perfection, or the heights of prayer to
incessantly.

They

which she has attained.


If the privileged souls whose steps we have been following has the happiness of corresponding perfectly with the signal graces God has conferred on her, what more wonders will He work in her? True, the example

we have before us is an absolutely exceptional one, but we must also bear in mind the words spoken by our
Lord to another saint: "If there were souls in exist ence in these latter days who had a greater love for Me than the saints in past ages, I should be read)*- to grant them even greater graces than those which I poured out upon those saints." Teresa, having surrendered herself entirely to the

loS

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

divine control, continues her steady flight towards the summit of perfection, and as she ascends, the ever increasing ardour of her soul seems almost to break the bonds of flesh which enclose it. "In the prayer already spoken of, and in all states of it, the gardener undergoes some labour, though in the latter states the labour is attended with so much
bliss

and comfort

of the soul that the soul


it

willingly pass out of labour, but as bliss.


the fruition

would never thus the labour is not felt as In this fourth stale there is no

sense of anything, only fruition. It understands that is of a certain good containing in itself all but this good is not good together at once
;

comprehended. How this which we call union is effected and what it is I cannot tell. Mystical theology explains it, and I do not know the terms of that

science."

Here Teresa,
us familiar
finds in
its
;

in default of theological terms, returns

to the use of the

comparisons with which she has made she borrows them from fire and celestial

to the mystical garden, she flowers and in the flight of the dove em blems whence she throws fresh light on that mystical theology of whose phraseology she professes her ignor ance.

dew, and then, returning

What I would wish to explain which the soul feels in this divine union. It is plain what union is two distinct things becoming one. Blessed be Thou Oh, my Lord, how good Thou art
She goes on
that
to say
"

is

for ever,

my God

Let

all

hast so loved us, that


!
.

we

creation praise Thee can truly speak of this way in

Who

which Thou communicatest Thyself to souls in this our exile Thus does our Lord advance, step by step, to lay hold of the little bird, and to lay it in the nest where it may repose. For a long time He observed
. .

UNION WITH GOD


it

109

fluttering

striving with the understanding


its
it

will,

Him
in

and with all and so now


;

this

life.

And
repay
I

powers to His pleasure to reward it even One moment is what a reward


is
!

and the and seek God please

enough

to

all

the
all

How

shall

describe

possible trials of this life. that passes in the soul in


it

teriorly?
scribe.

Let him describe

who knows
so
it

it,

for as

it is

impossible to understand

it,

is

impossible to de

purposed to write this, I had just communicated, and had risen from the very prayer of which I had been speaking, and while thinking of what the soul was then doing, the Lord said to me It undoes itself utterly, my daughter, in order that it may give itself more and more to me. It is not itself As it cannot comprehend what that then lives, it is I.

When

it

understands, it understands by not understanding. He who has experience of this will understand it in some measure, for it cannot be more clearly described. All that I am able to say is that the soul is conscious of and the certainty she has being closely united to God that of this fact is such nothing could force her to
L
;

doubt

it."

body succumbs under the weight and of happiness glory with which the soul is inun

Thus

it

is

that the

of this divine union is such the that it absorbs powers and the senses. As the below it, so does the soul the hearth flame soars above of the body which bonds narrow to the rise superior

dated.

The consciousness
all

encloses

it

it

is

We
bating

have no desire
the

then that ecstasy commences. to waste words and time in


of
It is

com
the

incredulity. arguments Christian, to those acquainted with the

to

marvels of the

Catholic Church
the greatest
1

that these pages,

marvels of which these are some of drawn from St. Teresa s

Solo podre decir, que se represcnla estar junto con Dios.

no

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

mystical treatise, are addressed. In the early days God rapt His ardent apostle up to the third heaven, and the Church in its progress through the centuries has produced many saints of both sexes whose super
natural lives have been signalized by such favours as

we have here described. St. Teresa shall tell us own words what she has seen and experienced.
"The
"is

in

her

soul while thus seeking after conscious, with a joy excessive


it

God,"

she says,
:

and sweet, and

that

were, fainting away in a kind of trance all the bodily strength fail it, so that it cannot even move the hands without great pain the eyes close involuntarily, and if they are open they are The ear hears, but what is as if they saw nothing. heard is not comprehended. It is useless to try to
is,

as

it

breathing and

speak, because it is not possible to conceive a word bodily strength vanishes, and that of the soul in creases, to enable it better to have the fruition of its
;

all

joy."

These

last

words lead

to

a consideration

on the

positive side of the principle of ecstasy, or rapture. Teresa, in describing the external phenomena of this

places the annihilation of the senses specially before our eyes. One objection may be made here which we should like to notice it is, that ecstasy is a death, a temporary death doubtless it will be urged,
state,
:

a death and therefore in what way can this looked upon as a blissful one, or a state which confers benefit on the soul ? Ecstasy is not death if for

but

still

state be

suspends the exercise of the intelligence and the inferior senses, 1 the soul expands to its full life
it

moment

This suspension of the senses is only an effect of weakness. When Teresa s soul, later on, was familiarized with these divine visitations,
1

she

was

able to sustain these supernatural operations of grace without

losing"

the exercise of her exterior faculties.

RAPTURE
and vigour during its sway life and the beatific vision.
tells us,
"feels
;

in
St.

it is

a prelude to a heavenly
soul,"

"The

Teresa

her strength increase in proportion to the weakening of the exterior senses, so that she can She loses herself in God. She better enjoy her bliss. no longer exists, but God exists in her. It is true that her powers are suspended, and lose their natural but a sweet and ineffable feeling replaces the activity
;

other and absorbs her utterly this is the consciousness of the Divine Presence. This is the dominant note of ecstasy. This joy may inundate the soul in different ways either by a pro
;
:

found sentiment of the Divine Presence such as Teresa


of, or by sensible, or intellectual visions, or by All voices, distinctly uttered, or spoken to the soul. these favours were to be conferred in turn, as we shall One word more before we see later, on our saint.

speaks

conclude this very incomplete sketch of St. Teresa


gift of prayer.
"It

is

almost

impossible,"

she says,

"for

the soul

It supernatural attraction. comes in general as a shock, quick and sharp, before you can collect your thoughts, or help yourself in any way; and you see and feel it as a cloud, or as a strong

in

rapture to

resist

the

away on its I tried to make some when me, wings. resistance, as if a great force beneath my feet lifted me I know of nothing with which to compare it up. there is no power against His power. Many are the effects of rapture, and one of the greatest is that the mighty power of our Lord is mani
eagle rising upwards, and carrying you
It

seemed

to

"

fested

by
is

it.

Whether we

like

it

or not,

we

see that

there

One

His

gifts,

mightier than we are, that these graces are and that of ourselves we can do nothing

whatever.

ii2
"God

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


then so strips the soul of everything that, may, there is nothing on earth that can be companion. And, though God as it were seems so
it

do what
its

far

away from

the soul at that


in

moment, yet He

reveals

an inconceivable way to it. I have seen it myself, and I know by experience that the soul in rapture is mistress of everything, and acquires such freedom in one hour, and even in less, as to be unable to recognize itself. Oh, what power that soul possesses which our Lord raises to this state How it looks
!

His greatness

down upon

everything,

is

ashamed it is of the time when it was entangled how amazed at its own blindness. It sees, too, not only the cobwebs that cover it, and its great faults, but also the specks of dirt, however slight they may be for the sun shines most clearly, and thus, however
;

How

entangled

by nothing

the soul may have laboured at its own perfection, sees itself to be very unclean if the rays of the sun fall upon it. The soul is like water in a vessel, which
it

much

appears pellucid when the sun does not shine through it, but if it does the water is found to be full of motes. Before the soul fell into the trance it thought itself to be careful about not offending God but now that it has attained to this state, in which the Sun of Justice shines upon it, and makes it open its eyes, it beholds so many motes it would gladly close them again. It
;

In Thy presence who shall be justified? When it looks on this divine Sun the brightness thereof dazzles it when it looks on itself its eyes are blinded by the dust. The little dove is blinded.
: ;

remembers the words

So it happens very often the soul is often blinded, absorbed, amazed, dizzy at the vision of such grandeur. Blessed is that soul which our Lord draws on to the
;

understanding of the truth

"

The knowledge

of the

truth

this is the

supreme

THE BLIND DOVE


tion to

good which Teresa discovers which our Lord has


"

in the heights of perfec

raised her.

Noverim
that
I

ie,

noverim me.

Lord, that

know myself." The greatness of God, the splendour of His glory, the tenderness of His supreme love God the Creator making Himself known to His miserable creature who, entranced, lost, and confounded in her nothingness, has no strength, nor power, nor life to do
;

may know Thee,

may

anything but love


in

Him Who

alone deserves

it.

This

describes the state of Teresa s blind dove

of the soul

world, her works of charity, and of her zeal for souls, whether her contemplation was of no benefit to anyone but herself, and whether the effect of true mysticism is to enfeeble the mind, or dry up the heart of man. Teresa

an ecstasy. to conclude that she who is thus lifted up to is lost to earth ? The treasure of that Heaven, loving and generous heart, of that gifted mind, are they closed To the world? Is it God s will that the graces which He has showered upon Teresa should be reserved for Himself alone? The saint s history will be a sufficient denial of such an allegation. shall soon learn when we come to treat of her relations with the outer of

Are we

We

exposed peril, was be saved from it in a different manner, and the foundations of her soul, tried by cruel anguish, joined to the contradiction of men, were to be sunk ever deeper and deeper on the solid bed-rock of humility.
to

through trials before attaining the of her The apostle said: height sanctity. Lest the greatness of the revelation should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan to buffet me." to the same Teresa,
full
"

had

still

to pass

CHAPTER
same year INGod wholly and
the
to the sons of St.
in

IX
to

which Teresa gave herself

for ever, Avila opened its doors Fr. Juan de Padranos Ignatius.

and
St.

Fr.

Ferdinand Alvarez had been sent there by

who was at that time general of the and on their arrival they took pos Spanish province, session of an ancient hospice, and the church of St. Giles adjoining it, both of which were made over to
Francis Borja,

them by the confraternity of that hospital. They here founded a college, to which before long the parents in the town sent their belonging to the upper classes
sons to be educated.

Rumours

of the holiness of the

lives led by these two fathers were soon spread in Avila. Nor were these reports idle ones, for though neither had reached a mature age, they had already acquired in an austere noviceship, which piety and experience had been followed by much labour in the missionary
field.

though all she knew at this time of and from one Society was gathered from its motto, not con could of members it, or two books written by the of desire in her ardent tain her joy greater honour that heard she when and glory of God they had come been not had If she kept back by to settle in Avila. which she for and her convent rules, by apprehensions been have would she amongst could hardly account, the first to seek from these fathers for that direction of which her soul stood at this time so much in need.
Teresa,
114

the

TERESA

MISGIVINGS

115

The consolations she was constantly receiving in prayer, which pursued her in spite of her not going out of her way in search of thorn, were a source of
herself,

terror to her humility. is it possible, she said to that God can thus treat a miserable sinner?

How

Such graces can only be the portion of the holy and pure of heart. Are they not therefore illusions of the angel of darkness, who seeks to draw me away, by means of them, from the solid practice of dry but meri torious prayer? These grievous misgivings grew in proportion to God s favours. It was true that Teresa was inwardly I supported by the belief that they came from God. had even the certainty of she says, "because I could see that I was growing stronger, and better since
"

it,"

received

them

but

if

was even

for a short time


to trouble

distracted after
me."

my

prayer, they

began again

sad instance, which bore some resemblance to her case, and thus gave a foundation to her fears, occurred about this time. A woman of the name of Clare of

Cordova, called in religion Magdalen of the Cross, had by her pretended miracles, visions, and revelations extorted the admiration of all Spain. She was a member of the Franciscan Order, and after many years spent in a convent in Cordova, in which she edified and astounded the community by her austeri Her fame spread outside ties, she was made Abbess.
the confines of her monastery. Kings and Pontiffs consulted her. The spirit of prophecy was attributed to her, by means of which it was supposed that shehad foretold the defeat of Francis I at Pavia, and the
pillage of Rome by the Imperial army. duping the whole of the religious world

Finally, after it is said by

the aid of the evil spirit

grace touched the

woman

n6
heart,
fell

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

and stripping herself of the mask of hypocrisy, at the feet of the Franciscan Visitor, and she her life for thirty years had been a lie arid that owned She was condemned by the Inquisition a deception. of her misdeeds in the cathedral of avowal an to read her life in the practice of penance finished and Seville,
in

drama took place in 1546. It a sensation throughout the country great produced and it was soon after this terrible scandal that St.

The

a remote convent. crisis in the above

Teresa began to feel the supernatural attractions we have described, and to enter into the extraordinary ways by which she was henceforth to be led. It was
in vain that

her conscience testified to her good faith. She felt that Sister Magdalen was probably deceived by the devil before she began to think of deceiving others, and, deeply persuaded that it was impossible
for a

person leading a sinful life such as hers to receive divine communications, she resisted the attractions of with the angel. grace, in the same way as Jacob fought A glance at Teresa s account of her struggles will mark the difference between the impostor and the
saint.

interior

humble misgivings as regards her her spiritual experiences, Teresa and lights saw herself ever as a little child in the hands of God, and as such she wished to be led by her spiritual She made no use of the privileges accorded teachers. her by our Lord except to give all the glory to Him, and all the shame and confusion to herself.
Full
of

she says, "that it spiritual persons with diligently whom I might treat of my state. I had already heard of some, for the Fathers of the Society of Jesus had come hither, and though I knew none of them, I was greatly attracted by them, merely because I had heard
"These

fears so

grew upon
for

me,"

made me seek

HER FEAR OF DELUSIONS


of their

117

way
to
I

of

life,

and of prayer, but

did not think

myself

fit

them

and

speak to them, or strong enough to obey there spent some time in this state.

Was
!
!

ever delusion so great as mine, O my God when I withdrew from good, in order to become good The devil must lay much stress on this in the beginning of a course of virtue. He knows that the whole relief of the soul consists in conferring with the friends of

God.
struck

When
me

saw

that

my

fear

was going so

far

it

because 1 was making progress in prayer that this must be a great blessing, or a very great evil for I understood perfectly that what had happened was supernatural, because at times I was unable to with stand it to have it when 1 would was impossible. I to that there was in no for but it, thought myself help keeping my conscience pure, avoiding every occasion even of venial sins; for if it was the work of the Spirit of
;
;

the gain was clear, and if the work of Satan, so long as I strove to please and did not offend our Lord, Satan could do me little harm on the contrary, he must lose in the struggle. Determined on this course, and
;

God

always praying to

God

to help

me, striving also

after

purity of conscience for soul had not strength to

some days, I saw that my go forth alone to a perfection

I had also certain attachments, which, great. though not wrong, were enough to keep me back." Teresa had long before broken with those habits of communication with the outer \vorld which had caused

so

her so

to be too

much remorse. To what, therefore, did she fear much attached at this time? Probably to ties

within the cloister, which, formed by the consecrated link of community life, and founded on the sure basis
of unity of
charity,

aim and aspiration, and, above

all,

on holy

true sisterhood of religious life. If Teresa found material for self-reproach in these legiti-

make a

nS

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


on account of the ardour This ardour, to them. nature, was one day to be by divine grace into burn

mate ties, it was doubtless with which she gave herself which was part of her very transformed, not destroyed,

up

ing love of God and zeal for her neighbour. The day was to come for our saint, and was not then far distant, when the love of Jesus would take such entire pos
session of her heart that she should no longer have any fear of such attachments, for it would be im

possible for her to love anyone excepting in


for

God and

God. This mingling of human attachments, supernatural fervours, and deep attraction to a more perfect life, combined to put Teresa s soul on the rack. Fr. Vincent Barron had long before been moved by his superiors from Avila, and she had found no one to replace him

She was forced to in the task of directing her soul. suffer in silence, and pursue her solitary path uncertain whither it was leading her. The Fathers of the Society
of Jesus inspired her with confidence, but she was un willing to take the necessary steps to put herself in

communication with them.


to her

At last circumstances led becoming acquainted with Dr. Caspar Daza, an excellent priest, whose name stands first on the list

of learned theologians whom Providence thought fit to associate with our saint in the character of spiritual

advisers.

Gaspar Daza was introduced to the convent of the Incarnation by Don Francisco de Salcedo, an old Don Francisco friend of Teresa s and of her family. hid under his secular attire the heart of an apostle and his life, wholly given up to prayer, good works, and the study of theology and philosophy, recalls that We shall find of his friend Don Alonso de Cepeda. with our saint for twenty years, during him associated
;

TERESA S FIRST DIRECTOR

119

which time his services were at her disposal, in her of great undertakings, and he showed himself emulous Later on his wife s death left her zeal and fervour. him free to enter Holy Orders, and he became con fessor to a convent of Carmelites of the Reform. Doctor Caspar Daza s first visit did not produce the In the first place, con results hoped for by Teresa. fused to find herself in the presence of so learned and holy a man, Teresa gave but an incomplete and in adequate account of the state of her soul, and her

manner
director,

of prayer.

She begged him

to

become her

and
;

to hear her confession.

necessary

as,

This was very had Doctor Daza done so, he would soon

have been enlightened by a more precise statement of her faults, and would have perceived that her life was not the commonplace one which she otherwise would have led him to suppose. But pressing duties pre He even told her vented his acceding to her request.

was impossible for him to take charge of the care of her soul, and he left her with some general directions only, as to what she should do to attain a state of per In spite of his experience in such matters, fection. Doctor Daza had only half understood the state of
it

Teresa
"

s soul.
began,"
I

He

she says,
to

"

to direct

me

as

if

was

have been strong, according to the method of prayer which he saw I used so that I should in nothing offend God. When I perceived that he ordered the affairs of my soul as if I ought to be
strong

ought

that much more care was neces In a word, I felt that the means he would have employed were not those by which my soul I believe that if I had only could be helped onwards. had this ecclesiastic to confer with that my soul would
perfect at once, I sary in my case.

saw

have made no progress.

wonder

at times

how

it

was

120
that he

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

was not permitted to understand my case, or undertake the care of my soul. I see now it was all for my greater good in order that I might know and converse with persons so holy as the members
to

of the Society of

Jesus."

Doctor Daza became one of

Teresa

most

faithful friends,

and she always mani

encouraged says, suppose I could give up every thing in a day. God would bring it about by degrees: lie himself had been unable to free himself for a long o time from some slight imperfection." If Don Fran cisco had been a priest, Teresa would never have sought another director. His patience, moderation, and firm ness were the very qualities that she looked for in a director, but he was not yet in the position of being inheritor of the promise Christ reserved for His mini
told

Don Francisco, distressed at the want of success of the interview which he had brought about, undertook to console Teresa. "He "and me," she

fested the highest esteem for him; his failure to under stand her was a matter of no importance in her eyes. "The saintly nobleman," to quote Teresa s words,

me

ought not

to

ster,

of

that heareth you, heareth Me." So, in spite his comforting words, she remained anxious, not being able to say positively God speaks to me by his
"He
:

joined to his other merits that of great tact and delicacy, wished to be of use to Teresa as a friend and adviser, and by no means
lips.

Don

Francisco,

who

desired to take upon himself the part of a judge. Fie used his influence over her to induce her to write an account of her method and gift of prayer, which he then undertook to lay before Gaspar Daza. This is how she speaks of the advice which had been given her: I could "This, "she says, "distressed me exceedingly. tell him nothing of my prayer, for the grace to under stand and understanding it to describe it has only

CASPAR DAZA S DECISION


lately been given me by God. Certainly to please God, and I could not persuade
I

121

was anxious
myself that afraid, on

Satan had anything account of my great sins, that God might leave me blind, so that I should understand nothing. Looking into there find I if could books to see by which anything I practised, I found in one the I prayer might recognize
to
it.

do with

But

was

them the Ascent of the Mount, 1 and in that part of it which relates to the union of the soul with God I saw all those marks which I had in myself, in
of
that
I

could

not

think

of

anything

when

marked that passage, and gave I was in prayer. him the book that he, and the ecclesiastic men tioned before, saint and servant of God, might If they consider it and tell me what I should do. of method that I it would give up right, thought
prayer altogether
to
;

for

why should

expose myself

danger when
I

at
I

the end of twenty years during

had gained nothing, but had fallen It was better for me to it seemed hard, for I had already it And up. yet give discovered what my soul would become without prayer. Everything seemed full of trouble." Teresa placed the book in Don Francisco s hands, together with a detailed account of her life and the Teresa prayed much while faults she had committed. these were being examined, and many prayers were said for her, as she tremblingly awaited a decree which she looked upon almost as a judgment of Heaven.
which
used
it

into a delusion of the devil.

After a short time Don Francisco appeared at the convent, and broke to Teresa, in accents of grief, that in Caspar Daza s opinion and his own, the manifesta tions she had received were the work of the Evil One. The conclusion they had come to was that she had
1

Subida del montc Sion, by a Franciscan, B. de Laredo.

122

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


and put

better send for a father of the Society of Jesus

herself under his direction, so that she livered from the dangers to which she
herself.

might be de had exposed

was received could do," Teresa tells She did not even dare to open us, "was to weep." out her heart at the feet of her Saviour, for she now felt bound to consider the consolation she knew she would then receive from her kind Master was but another delusion of the devil s. But in spite of her
this decision
I

The anguish with which


be imagined.
"

may easily

All

inward distress our saint prepared to obey by getting ready for a general confession, and sending for Fr. Juan de Padranos to hear it. Teresa showed one last

symptom
sister

her so much.

of weakness in taking this step which cost She begged of the portress, and the

who had charge of the sacristy, to mention this interview to no one, as (she tells us) she did not wish the community to know of it but "this was of little
;

use, after all, for when I was called down there was one at the door, as it happened, who told it to the whole
convent."

Fr. de Padranos received his new penitent with the grave and gentle kindness which marks the bearing of the sons of St. Ignatius in their dealings with

He made the much-dreaded manifestation of her conscience easy to her, and sounding the depths of her soul at one glance he understood all. Perfect
souls.

the candour of a child, great humility, joined to a superior mind, solid judgment, great good sense, a loving heart pure as an angel s and as ardent this was doubtless what Teresa revealed

straightforwardness,

to her confessor s sight.

Added

to these natural gifts

he discerned great marvels of divine grace, the manifest and direct action of God, and a surpassing love for her

FR.

DE PADRANOS

IS

CONSULTED

123

What consola divine Spouse in this privileged soul. tion must have filled the soul of this excellent priest at

He had probably been the sight of such holiness warned by Don Francisco that his mission was to free
!

come with an anxious mind


!

from the delusions of lying spirits, and had and he to the convent found himself brought face to face with a saint, and no less one than St. Teresa Her happiness equalled that of Fr. de Padranos. She had now found the direction our Lord had destined for her, and she followed it as long as circumstances permitted and when this father was moved from Avila,
his penitent
;

course of those changes which are usual in the Society, she replaced his direction by that of another
in the

strongest characteristics.

unity of spirit being one of their Thus the sons of St. Ignatius, whether they bore the names of Juan de Padranos, Baltasar Alvarez, or Francis Borja, were ever to This path Fr. de lead Teresa by the same path.
of
its
"
"

members

He Padranos traced out on his very first visit. all that he said me she says, greatly encouraged was very evidently the work of the Spirit of God, only it was necessary for me to go back again to my prayer, because I was not well grounded, and had not begun to understand what mortification meant that was true, for I do not think I knew- it even by name. That I was by no means to give up my prayer, on the contrary, I was to do violence with myself in order to practise it, because God had bestowed on me such special graces as made it impossible to say whether it was, or was not, the will of our Lord to do good to many through me. He went further, for he seemed to prophesy that which our Lord afterwards did with me, and said I should be greatly to blame if I did not correspond with ihe graces which God bestowed on me."
"

i2 4

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Thus a new life opened out before Teresa. Instead of being fettered and restrained by fear, she was told to abandon herself with confidence to the divine lead
She was no longer to look upon the extraordinary lights she was receiving as dreams of the spirit of dark The raptures and joys ness, but as rays from Heaven. which transported her soul were the work of grace and not of the father of lies. This was indeed peace after the storm after Rest, long days and nights of
ing.
!

anguish.
If Fr. de Padranos advice brought peace to the heart of our saint, no less did he impress measures of prudence upon her. Teresa was to take daily a

subject for her meditation drawn from the mysteries of the Passion, in all humility and simplicity, and dwell on it in a manner to draw practical resolutions

from

it.

was persuaded

With

object, we may ask, if her director that her state of prayer came from God ? the object of trying her obedience, establishing her

With what

in humility, and of giving her a more complete certi tude of the divine origin of her supernatural favours. In short, she was to aim at rendering her life, which was already so deeply fervent, still more worthy of the heavenly favours which were being poured out upon it. Fr. de Padranos likewise recommended certain practices

of penance the saint.

"which

were not very pleasant

to

me,"

adds

confirmed the good effects of her confession. Padranos put the Exercises of St. Ignatius into his holy penitent s hands for that purpose, and taught her how to follow them. Teresa was little given to such methodical meditations, and her use of these could only be a passing one. But she found in that masterpiece of a great saint a solid basis such as her director sought for
Fr. de
1
1

A retreat

Ribera.

TERESA

NEW

LIFE

125

her, in order to build up her spiritual life upon it. Shf felt in making this retreat that a new life had begun
for her,

and

later

on she exclaimed

iv
:

was

to find in

the

Society of Jesus rny training and


in

my

spiritual

life."

Whilst Teresa was thus following

docility

and

obedience the spiritual exercises of the saint of Loyola, that valiant soldier of God was preparing to appear He had arrived at the last scene before his Master. of his great and arduous life, and whilst surveying the work of his sons in spreading the faith in two con

innumerable tinents could sing his Nnnc Dimittis. had he were the sinners to whom procured the grace and weak How many of conversion tottering souls
!

How

owed

to

him

a renewal of fervour
!

how many

infidels

the grace of baptism triumphs God had this valiant soldier won in the field he had But among the conquests which chosen as his own
!

What

for the cause of

he joyfully bequeathed to his mother the Church, there was one taking place in the depths of an obscure monastery of his beloved country of which he was Had he foreseen its astounding doubtless ignorant. would fruits his soul surely have thrilled with fresh joy,

and

his

dying hands would have sent a

last

blessing to

this inheritor of his zeal, his love for the of his apostolic spirit.

Church, and

Under Teresa s humble bearing her director soon discovered a great saint but he did not allow her to perceive the opinion he had of her. After pointing out to her the road he wished her to pursue, he left her to I follow out her own will began at once to make a she in says, "though my con many things," change
;
"

fessor never pressed make light of it. I

on the contrary, he seemed to was the more influenced by this because he led me on by the way of the love of God.

me

126

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

He

left me free, and did not press me unless I did it myself, out of love. She could not have found a better guide; for Love

had already taken possession of her


refuse
It

soul,

and she could

nothing.
for all,
is

She

realized that to give oneself,


<

to Jesus she desired to

the only response worthy to be and says Come, and follow Me do so without limit or exception. Fr. de Padranos had suggested another means of self-sur render by the word mortification. The saint tells us it

once and

made

Who

was an unknown one

to her.

Her

still

delicate health,

her constant infirmities, had only left her sufficient strength to observe the mitigated Rule of her Order. She had not thought it possible to do more many in her place would have done less. But the time for
;

When kneeling at her nursing herself was over. meditations at the foot of the Cross a new feeling came over her it was the desire to suffer. A strange desire in the sight of the world, but a very natural one to the eye of faith. This longing was. as we shall see later, soon to take possession of her heart and to be the guiding power of her life. But these were the early steps in a steep and arid ascent.
:

now no longer satisfied with renouncing superfluous objects, comforts, and conveniences. She went further and offered our Saviour the sacrifice of bodily suffering. She wore a hair-shirt, and inflicted severe flagellations on herself with diciplines of steel, or nettles. Such mortifications she confesses at first cost her much. Her delicate limbs shuddered before these instruments of penance, but one look at her
Teresa was
all

one thought of the holy counsels she had received, enabled her to triumph over the weakness of human nature. She had been told by Fr. de Padranos, Possibly God has sent you all these maladies because
crucifix,
"

ST.

FRANCIS BORJA

127

you did not practise mortification. You need not fear, your health will not suffer from them." Teresa be she was lieved, and her health gained rather than lost and no better now than she had been for a long time doubt the peace and interior consolation she now felt
; ;

contributed to this result. In vain did she try to struggle against God s favours as she had been recommended The more she resisted the to do by her director. with interior joys, and with more Fie inundated her raptures which she could not conceal, and from which she complains that it was impossible for her to fly. The saint s obedience and humility having thus trium
1

phantly emerged from the trial to which they had been subjected, God s designs on her showed themselves ever and it seemed as if liberty had in a stronger light in her order that she should receive been granted to measure. A fortunate in abundant more His graces of trial imposed upon the term hastened circumstance her by the prudent counsels of her Jesuit director.
;

The
from
Jesuit,

college of St. Giles received a visit in the spring

its first

who

in the

This holy provincial, St. Francis Borja. world went by the name of Duke of

Gandia, and had at one time been a minister of the Emperor Charles and a dignitary at the Spanish court, was now wholly devoted to the service of the King of Whilst he was at Avila he visited the saint kings. in her convent, and Teresa gives the following account u When he heard of their interview me, he said it was the work of the Spirit of God, and that he thought it
:

to prolong that resistance. Only should always begin my prayer by meditating on some part of the Passion, and that if our Lord should then raise up my spirit I should make no resist I ance, but suffer His Majesty to raise it myself not
I
1

was not right now

Life, ch. xxiv.

T28

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

seeking it. He gave advice as one who had made great I was exceedingly consoled. He progress himself. me and gave me advice according to his always helped that and power was great." power, St. Francis was an instrument in the hand of Pro vidence to take away the last chains which bound our She saint and intercepted her flight Heavenward. could henceforth without fear or combat allow herself to be borne to the highest regions of the supernatural the unknown force which gave her this power life being nothing less than her love of God; and the word
:

of a saint guaranteed this for her.

CHAPTER X
approbation given by St. Francis Borja to Teresa on her method of prayer, and her super natural manifestations, had consoled her only in order to prepare her for fresh As the pure grain of suffering. the wheat is crushed in the mill, and thus prepared to become the bread of the divine Sacrifice, so was Teresa s soul tried and transformed in the furnace of
tribulation, in order that she might be made fit for the for which God destined her. She was one chosen out of ten thousand, and destined to be a

work

and God, jealous of the perfection of His beloved, was not yet entirely satisfied with the holi ness which she had thus far attained. He continued to pursue her with His inspirations until His love, victorious on all points, should have nothing furtherto ask His servant. This is the secret of those ^of successive "conversions" of which Teresa speaks; a word by which she denotes the progress she was ever making in the path of perfection one which was to end in total self-abnegation. We have at last reached the last sacrifice asked of her; the immolation of those heart-ties by which she was still so strongly bound that so far she had never been able to break them asunder. When she has done this she will have pronounced her consummatitm and she will then enter into the last of her
victim
;
"

living

est,"

period

life

130

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

one of even greater joys, and yet of still greater trial and suffering than those which have preceded it. Directly after St. Francis left Avila, Fr. de Padranos was recalled to another part of the province. This was in the year 1557. "His departure was a great
affliction
I

to

me,"

writes our saint,

"for

thought

my past wickedness, and that it was not possible to find such another as he." The Convent of the Incarnation had not shared Teresa s views, or her desire to lead a life of greater
should go back to

The community was increasing rapidly, and the majority of the nuns brought good dispo but the fine sitions and solid piety to the religious life
strictness.
;

convent with its spacious gardens, though it offered its inmates a peaceful and pleasant retreat, could do little without a fixed Rule, or strict Observance, to imbue them with the monastic spirit. The nuns lived much
in the practice of Christian virtues, as they pleased no doubt, but still not very differently to many devout
;

women

in

the world.
life

To aim

at perfection

in

their
left

religious

was

far

from their thoughts.

They

such ideas

to

Teresa without any desire of following

her example.

Again, revenues

as
of

we
the

have previously mentioned, convent were insufficient for


of
its

the the

number and wants

members.

Hence

the

ne

cessity arose of frequent appeals to the charity of the nuns relations, and even of sending some away in

order to relieve the convent of the burthen of support ing them. Teresa groaned under these abuses without dreaming that Gocl would one day impose on her the Meanwhile she arduous task of reforming them. humbly and patiently accepted a state of things which she looked upon as inevitable. When her superiors, giving in to the entreaties of her relations, told her to

TERESA S FRIENDS
go and
regret
left

131

stay with them, she obeyed, leaving with much the little ceil, which she would never have on her own accord.

Teresa experienced this when, soon after Fr. de Padranos left Avila, one of her relatives obtained leave for her to go and The saint whilst stay in her house. on this visit found herself in her native parish, close to the church of St. John, and the of
God."

work ^ll things

for

good

for those

who

love

St. Giles.

herself

She profited by this neighbourhood to put once more under the direction of a member of

Jesuit college

the Society. Fr. Bakasar Alvarez, who was later on to be her principal guide in the paths of perfection, was then still a novice, but already he had made great progress in prayer and He was concluding his theo penance. logical studies under Fr. Banez at the Dominican convent of Avila, and every evening on his return to the college he used to visit the Blessed

Sacrament
at night

in to

that church

and our

saint

when going

pray there used to see this holy youth absorbed in prayer and insensible to all exterior things. Teresa whilst visiting her cousin was thrown across another holy soul on whom God had designs for the furtherance of His work. This was Dona a
her husband at the age of twent}Tfive. Heart-broken, and yet not wholly prepared to break with the world and its dreams of human happi ness, she had put herself under the direction of a Jesuit father in the hope that peace and strength of mind might come of his guidance. Teresa, who already knew and loved her, believed that she was capable of doing great things for God. Dona Guiomar opened her heart to the saint, and told her of those cravings which she had not been able to overcome for
lost

widow who had

Guiomar,

young

ii2 o

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


had she known

earthly joys, but which

itGod

alone

could satisfy. and pressed her to give herself up entirely to Him in A profound and supernatural the practice of prayer. these two \vomen, who between affection sprung up end the same at were arriving by very different roads. with regret when Teresa with Dona Guiomar parted to able was as she as soon escape from her the
cousin

Teresa spoke to her of the love of God,

Some convent. importunities, returned to her successful her in Guiomar turn, was, months later Dona in obtaining a similar permission to take Teresa to
s

latter,

her house. This event took place at the end of the year 1558. The holy novice of the preceding year, Fr. Baltasar evidence Alvarez, had been ordained, and already gave of the the science in master a consummate of

being

Gaspar spiritual life. Don Francisco his hands.

Daza had entrusted

his soul to

de Salcedo obeyed him like had discovered in him Guiomar Dona a child. Finally, which her soul stood of director the firm and prudent the struck in need. progress made by her
friend
in

by Teresa, her spiritual life, wished to profit in like manner by Fr. Baltasar s direction, and accordingly enrolled herself among the number of his penitents. Baltasar recognized from the moment of his Fr.
first

interview with Teresa the vast designs God had He thus his care. upon the soul He had confided to to seconding the divine direction his limited wisely workings in her soul with wisdom and prudence.
"This
father,"

Teresa says, "began by putting He used to say to of in the way greater perfection. that I might leave to undone, I me that ought nothing
;

me

be wholly pleasing to God. He was, however, very same time for my soul prudent and very gentle at the rather but all at not very weak, especially was strong,

FR.

BALTASAR ALVAREZ,

S.J.

133

as to giving up certain friendships, though I did not offend God by them. There was much natural affec
I thought it would be an act of broke them off. And so, as I did not ingratitude offend God, I asked him if I must be He ungrateful. told me to lay the matter before God for a few days,

tion in them,
if

and

and

recite the

enlighten

me

hymn Veni Creator, as to the better course.


in all things,
fell
I

that

God might
day, having

One

prayed for some time, and implored the Lord to help

me
as

to please
I

Him

began the hymn, and

grace heard these words I will not have thee converse with men, but with angels. They made me afraid, though, on the other hand, they gave me great
ecstasy.
I
*
:

into a trance, so suddenly that I was, as it carried out of myself. This was the were, first time that the Lord bestowed on me the of
it I

was saying

comfort."
"God

words

effect

words and

actions,"

the saint

what they say; they arc both was wont to say later on.

Experience taught her this from the moment she heard them. "From that day forth I have had courage so great as to leave all things for God, who, in one

moment, was pleased to change His servant into another person. Accordingly there was no necessity for laying further commands upon me in this matter.

When my

confessor saw

how much

clung

to these

friendships, he did not venture to bid

me

distinctly to

He must have waited till our Lord did give them up. the work, as He did Himself. Nor did I think myself that I could succeed for I had tried and the
;

before,

gave me was so great that I abandoned the attempt, on the ground that there was nothing un seemly in the attachment. Now our Lord set me at liberty, and gave me also strength to use it. I told my confessor of it, and gave up everything according to
pain
it

34

THE
I

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

It did a great deal of good to those with used to converse." It was with these senti ments that Teresa returned to her monastery. Had she to suffer from any unkindness on the part of those nuns upon whom her new way of living reflected, possibly, a certain degree of blame? Did she hear any gentle murmurs on the subject of her craving or a for solitude, her austerities, and her silence a for off herself to that she was pass trying whisper saint? Her extreme reserve on such points allows us

his advice.

whom

to suspect this, without, that such was the case.

however, in any way affirming The following is the only con fidential letter we possess of hers which throws any the com light upon what passed between her and time: at this the Incarnation of passed munity her life to at the end of she says, writing many years," a nun of a different Order, "in a convent where there were a hundred and eighty nuns, with whom I lived as This is what one can do if only God and I existed. when one loves God as you do, my dear Mother.
"I

Doing this gave me such interior peace, that though my community was a numerous one they caused me no more distraction than on the contrary, it helped to make if 1 had been alone
defects.
;

Love your sisters for the pay no attention to their

virtues

you perceive

in

them

me advance

in

virtue."

This line of conduct was adopted by Teresa no less from prudence than by her desire to die to herself, and Her to exterior objects in order to lose herself in God. to 1561, was to from three 1558 years, during apostleship be exclusively that of example, and she was only to exercise this with humble reserve. Her one occupation

was

and to be that of working at her own perfection our Lord on His side, whilst He was, unknown to her, preparing her for those great undertakings which He
;

TERESA S TRIALS FROM HER FRIENDS

135

willed to accomplish by her means, appeared during those three years to have no object but that of sancti her soul. Thus was Teresa admitted into a divine

fying

which our Saviour Himself was Master, in by word of mouth, enlightened her by means of astonishing visions, and led her finally to pronounce the vow of always following the most perfect way, and the sublime desire to suffer or die. both Master and dis Trials meanwhile increased from the cross which suffered and Teresa, ciple, Jesus
novitiate, of

which

He

instructed her

is

known as the contradictions of well-meaning people. The recollection of the story of the unfortunate Mag
dalen of the Cross, and similar cases, still tormented the imagination (more timid than enlightened) of Don Francisco de Salcedo, and Caspar Daza, and various other priests and good people who took an interest in our saint. None assuredly doubted her good faith. If the devil deceived her, it was against her will, but She tells the her misfortune was none the less great. story of the solicitude of which she was the object with Neither the reassuring testimony of her usual charity. St. Francis Borja s nor that of Fr. Baltasar Alvarez could stop the warfare these good folk waged against God and His holy will, whilst all the time they thought they were fighting the powers of darkness. As a rule," she says, I only discovered my soul to my confessor, but by his orders I sometimes spoke on such matters to some other servants of God. As these loved me they feared all the more that I was ensnared by the devil. Also they were not careful to be as silent as they should have been. They consulted with various people whom I had confided in about my method of prayer. They had doubtless good inten tions, but they caused me much pain by so doing, as
"
"

they then divulged what should have been kept secret,

136

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


it

which made

appear as

if I

had published these things


it,

Our Lord permitted myself. to try me without their being


of course

think,

in
It

order

to
I

be

understood

that

blame. do not
;

should

what
I felt

had mentioned
tell all

in confession

speak of only say that as

bound

to conceal nothing because


it

the order to

had a right

to

I had received seemed to me I my difficulties, count on their discretion. They had


;

many conferences together about my necessities for they had a great affection for me, and were afraid I was under a delusion. I too was very much afraid whenever I was not occupied in prayer but when I prayed and our Lord bestowed His graces on me I was
;

instantly reassured. all of opinion that

My
I

confessor told

me

they were
;

was deceived by Satan that I must communicate less frequently, and contrive to

distract myself in such a way as to be less alone. I in great fear myself, as I have just said, and disease of the heart contributed thereto, so that very

was

my

often

did not dare to remain alone in my cell during When I found so many maintain this, and unable to believe them, I had at once a most myself grievous scruple, for it seemed to me that I had very little humility, especially as they all led lives incom 1 parably better than mine,"
I

the day.

It might seem strange that Fr. Baltasar should have passed such a sentence on our saint, which was entirely opposed to his own personal opinion, and the intimate knowledge he had of her interior life. He in in a this manner with acted, however, conformity divine inspiration. He appeared to doubt this much afflicted soul, whose only support he was, and even at

times to abandon her to the attacks of her adversaries but in reality he was full of admiration for her progress
;

Life, ch. xxiii. -xxv.

MARIDIAZ
in

137

perfection, which his rigorism favoured, and he never ceased to recognize the hand of God in her supernatural gifts which were a stumbling-block to

the rest of the world.

Before long, in consequence of the indiscreet talk of which Teresa complained, all Avila became acquainted with the events which were taking place in a cell in the Convent of the Incarnation. The saint s extraordinary gifts of prayer were spoken of by some with admira Some went so far as tion, by others with contempt. to go to Fr. Baltasar to put him on his guard against
silence
his penitent s delusions. The father heard them in the popular talk did not affect him like the
;

misgivings of the learned. "My confessor," Teresa says, "though he agreed with them for the sake of trying me, as I understood and alone did so. afterwards, always comforted me
;

He
that

told
if it
I

me

that

if

did not offend God,


of Satan, could
it.

my

prayer,

even

was the work


;

much many

should be delivered from to God he himself, and


others did so earnestly.
I

all

do me no harm, He bade me pray his penitents and


all

too with

my

might,

and as many as I knew to be servants of God, prayed that His Majesty would be pleased to lead me by
another
in
l

way."

Whilst the good people of Avila were thus troubled mind about one whose marvellous life would later on redound so greatly to the glory of the city, they agreed
in venerating another woman who was celebrated for her sanctity in those days though little is known of her in these. Her name was Maridiaz. She had con secrated her life to God since her early youth, and from that moment it had been one of constant prayer and
sacrifice.

She spent her days, and even frequently her


1

Life, ch. xxv.

138

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

nights, in the church of St. Emelion, where she prayed, hidden from the eye of man. Years succeeded each other, and found her ever in the same place, which

A tabernacle her place of rest. with the wearied divine never she prisoner Prisoner, of remaining near Him, contemplating and loving Him. But no extraordinary graces rewarded this The saint of Avila, Maridiaz, had great fervour. neither visions nor ecstasies. And was Teresa a more ? Avila believe it, refused to privileged person that God has more than one road ignoring whereby He leads His elect to Himself. Teresa herself held this holy soul in great esteem. She would gladly, had it been God s will, have been led by the same ways as Maridiaz, and she implored her to obtain this grace for her. But her friend s prayers, in of her over the spite power loving heart of our Lord, were not heard, and whilst she continued her round of visits to the Blessed Sacrament and her rosaries, Teresa went on always advancing on her road. Or, rather, our Divine Saviour, paying no heed to the obstacles put in her path, was ever drawing her in His own way nearer to Himself. The struggle in our saint s heart became at times very severe on one side there were the wellnigh invincible attractions of divine love which lifted her out of herself, and on the other the charitable warnings of her friends. Fr. Baltasar s direction also took a stricter turn. Reversing St. Francis Borja s decision, he ordered the saint to resist her supernatural attractions, put a term even to her hours of solitude, and finally deprived her for twenty days of Communion. At last Teresa could no longer contain her anguish. She went to the college of St. Giles in the hope that she would be able to induce her stern director to soften a little the sacrifices
had become her
;

TERESA CONSOLED BY OUR LORD

139

he asked of her. But either because the good father was absent, or because he judged it wiser to continue
trying her instead of administering consolation to her, in either case she left the church without having seen It him, and as grief-stricken as when she entered it. that returned to the her as she to monastery appeared she must succumb to her trials for how could she continue to live without prayer, without Communion, in the misery to which she was reduced by the alarms of those who still thought her a victim to the delusions of the devil?
;

whom

myself," she says, "having no one in could find any comfort, unable to pray or read, like a person stunned by heavy trials, utterly disquieted
"I

was by
I

and wearied, not knowing what would become of me.


I have been at times in distress, but yea, very often I was in this state never before in distress so o efreat. for four or five hours there was no comfort for me either from Heaven or earth, our Lord let me suffer, afraid of a thousand dangers. In this distress, these Thy words alone were enough to remove it and give me a perfect peace u Be not afraid, my daughter. It is I and I will not abandon thee. Fear not." 1 The tortures ceased. Teresa lifted her head bowed down by sorrow, and smiling at her loving Master she asked herself how she could possibly have doubted that what passed in her was the effect of His goodness, and full of new life and strength and light, she exclaims in
;

Oh, my Lord, how true a friend art Thou transport Oh that a voice might go forth over the whole world pro
"

claiming Thy faithfulness to those who love Thee. All things fail, but Thou, O Lord of all, never failest." She had much need of this divine encouragement to sustain her under a persecution which increased and
1

Life, ch,

xxv.

140

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

spread rapidly. A parallel was made between her and Maridiaz in order to exalt the former to Teresa s dis

paragement. Her smallest actions were spied upon, her words treasured up, and if a shadow of imperfec tion was traced to either, Fr. Baltasar was at once informed of it. Again the saint was interrogated about her prayer when she answered with her usual sim it was made out that she wished to appear plicity or learned, people professed to be shocked at her frank ness. In a word, the inhabitants of Avila who loved
;

her in the days

visitors in the parlour,

when she delighted the souls of her now looked upon her with ever
pursued
;

increasing suspicion, and


criticisms.

her with

unjust

Teresa accepted these trials she drew even greater from them in order to detach herself from the strength and to hide herself in God. The severity of world, Fr. Baltasar and the line of conduct he took in her regard were a greater trial to her.
already know, Fr. Baltasar was a very holy but to his great gift of prayer, his enlightened man, judgment, and his supernatural lights, he joined a pro found humility which was his chief characteristic. Though personally persuaded that Teresa was led by the Holy Spirit, he had difficulty in understanding how
the theologians, to whom (under his orders) she had submitted the state of her soul, and her method of

As we

prayer, judged her so differently, and he ended in fearing that he was deceived. Without, therefore, allowing his penitent to see his doubts, which would have put the finishing stroke to her troubles, he judged
it

necessary to thus to obtain her obedience, as Teresa was

try her to the uttermost.

He wished
;

the greatest guarantee of her holiness, and her spirit of self-abnegation and

detached from

everything except the

DIFFICULTIES OF DIRECTION

141

divine consolations, he desired her voluntarily to abstain from them. Strange direction, we may pos which sibly think, and as exceptional as the road by it which can is one be the saint was led, but explained

by the above reasons,


Baltasar at the same time spared no effort to attain that depth of knowledge and divine enlighten ment which were required in order to direct a soul such He prayed much, and studied the works as Teresa s.
Fr.

of the most approved mystical writers. sion it is related that, speaking to a

On

one occa
of the

member

on spiritual matters which he had read, he said: Well, Father, I have had to read those and more, in order to understand Mother
Society of the
treatises
"

numerous

Teresa."

he understood certainly gave him this grace Teresa from the first, and remained her constant sup She, on the port in the storm which broke over her.

God

and other hand, had no peace except in obeying him he submitted which the trials to her, notwithstanding she honoured and loved him as a visible guardian
;

she Yes," angel and as the father of her soul. of this fond I am spiritual father, in exclaims, very In which he treated me." with the of severity spite another place she writes: "If he had not reached a great sanctity, and if our Lord had not kept up his courage, he would never have been able to endure what he did on my account. On the one side, he had to
" "

answer those who thought I was quite off the right road, and who would not believe the assurances he gave them that they were mistaken and on the other, he had to comfort me, and cure me of the fears in which these caused me to Whilst Teresa was acquiring fresh perfection in the
;

fall."

Ribcru.

142

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

midst of trials and suffering, her divine Master was It was in vain that pursuing His work in her soul.
she tried to deprive herself of solitude, and to shorten her prayer, in order to avoid His supernatural mani He was ever at her side, and made Himself festations. known to her whatever she was doing. Whilst she was engaged in conversations in obedience to the orders she received, He ravished her soul to Himself so that she heard no voice but His. This divine the language is not heard by the senses, and yet Teresa says, seems to have other ears with soul," which it hears and He forces it to listen, and will not let it be distracted." Teresa received many divine teachings through this supernatural sense. When she was sad our Lord encouraged her by means of it, or He warned her if He saw her departing from the path of perfection which He wished her to follow. He even reprimanded her with a vehemence sufficient, as she says, "to make a soul sink into her native nothing
"

"

But whilst He enlightened, consoled, and her heart, He also warned her of clangers which threatened her, and threw a prophetic light on
ness."

rejoiced

what was going

to

happen

to her.

On

one occasion she was tempted, when much tried


Baltasar s
injunctions,
to

by Fr.
director

leave

him

for

a
;

give her greater liberty for prayer when on the point of carrying out her intention our Lord reproved her with such severity that all that Fr. Baltasar caused her to suffer was nothing by Another time, when she had comparison with it. brought a similar complaint to her good Master s feet, do not flatter thy Daughter," He answered her, self thou art obedient unless thou art prepared to
1
"

who would

suffer.

Behold

My

sufferings,

and
little

it

will

for thee to bear anything."

seem easy

later her superior

CHRIST A

"

LIVING

BOOK"

143

forbade her to read certain spiritual books, in which Do not grieve, her piety had found sustenance. will give to Lord said her, my daughter," our thee a living book." At first Teresa did not under stand the meaning of these words she was soon to
"

"I

do

so.

the space of two years resisted favours she had fought with her ecstasies and with her raptures she had even struggled against the sense of supernatural recollection which was con She had multiplied her stantly overcoming her.

She had now during


s
; ;

God

novenas and

returning to the

She had
Hilarion,

to obtain the grace of of her past years. meditation simple invoked St. Michael, and prayed to St.

her

petitions

whose special gift it is to ward off the temptations and delusions of Satan, with this particular And in answer to these prayers, and this intention.
heroic exercise of obedience,
"was
"this,"

our saint says,

what happened to me: I was in prayer one it was the feast of the glorious St. Peter when day I saw Christ close by me, or, to speak more correctly, felt Him, for I saw nothing with the eyes of the body,
nothing with the
eyes
of the
soul.

Jesus Christ

seemed to be by my side continually, and as the vision but I had a most was not imaginary I saw no form distinct feeling that He was always on my right hand,
;

a witness of all

did.

It

is

God which
find

have attained

Him

frequently felt, to the prayer of union with whom we converse.

is

not like the presence of particularly by those who

when we seem

to

grace from God, and let him to whom esteem it much, but it is not vision. But here in this vision it is seen clearly that Jesus Christ is present." Teresa enjoyed this unspeakable grace almost with In the gardens of out intermission for several davs.

This is a great He has given it

144

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

her convent, as in her cell, in recreation, and whilst conversing with the nuns as in deepest solitude, Jesus was ever beside her, following her wherever she went, and nothing could distract her attention from His divine company. Still, \ve must not forget that she only enjoyed His presence at this time as a blind man who feels, and recognizes by reason and intelligence, that he who is beside him is a father, or a brother, or friend, without being able to see a feature of his face. But even this favour, great as it is, does not satisfy the love of our Divine Saviour. And thus with what prudence does He prepare the soul of His well-beloved for the bliss He has in reserve for her He discovers
!

Himself little by little, as if true King of Glory He would only slowly emerge from the cloud behind which He veils the splendour of His beauty. One day when Teresa was absorbed in prayer Jesus showed her one of His adorable hands, and at the sight of it the saint was rapt into ecstasy. Another time He allowed her a glimpse of His countenance, and permitted her to gaze upon it for some moments. At last, on the feast of St. Paul, whilst she was assisting at Mass with her customary fervour, and preparing to receive Holy Communion, our Lord appeared to her in the glory of His sacred Humanity. He looked at her lovingly, and spoke to her with the

The saint cannot describe the greatest sweetness. transports of her happiness; she has no words to paint that divine beauty, that sovereign majesty. "One thing, however, I would say: if in Heaven itself there was nothing else to delight our eyes but the the great beauty of glorified bodies, that would be ex cessive bliss, particularly the vision of the Humanity of Jesus Christ our Lord. This vision, though imaginary, I never saw with my bodily eyes, nor indeed any other,

THE SACRED HUMANITY


many

145

but only with the eyes of the soul. If I were to spend years in devising how to picture to myself any thing so beautiful, I should never be able, nor even
to do it, for it is beyond the reach of any the whiteness and possible imagination here below In short, it is brilliancy alone are inconceivable.
;

know how

such that no man, however gifted he may be, can ever in the whole course of his life arrive at any imagination
of

what

it

1
is."

Teresa, in
vision
fears.

coming out of the ecstasy into which the had thrown her, could not shake off her usual

What

could this vision

mean?

Were

not the

faults of her past life such as to render her unworthy of lifting her eyes to the adorable countenance of

own imagination, or as everybody wishes her to believe may this not also be a deception of the father of lies? At every step, as we have seen, of this
mysterious ascent which our Lord forces her to take, our saint is deeply troubled she dare not place her
;

Jesus? of her

Is

it

not possible that she

may

be the sport

foot

on the unknown
fills

step

height
left in

her with terror.

above her, whose very She would desire to be

her nothingness, and before singing her Mag with the Queen of Virgins, before blessing Him "who has done great things in her," she is troubled, as Mary was at the salutation of the arch angel or as the seraphim who cover themselves with their wings and tremble, in the presence of the Most
nificat
;

High.
In spite of her repugnance to confide this fresh proof God s favour to Fr. Baltasar, she took courage to do so it would have cost her less to accuse herself
of
;

of all her past sins. told her to acquaint


1

Fr. Baltasar

calmed her

fears,

him Li,

in
ch.

detail with all


xvin.

that

she

146

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
;

should experience, and brought back to her recollection the principles on which his direction was founded namely, that a soul that is faithful in following our
Lord, and seeks to avoid offending

Him

even

in

the

smallest particular; who is simple and straightforward; confides frankly in her confessor and follows meekly If the his counsels such a soul has nothing o to fear.
:

devil seeks to deceive him,

God

will

bring about that


be changed

the evil which the


into good.

enemy

tries to effect will

Teresa returned to her convent with her conscience calmed, and there her good Master awaited her. Our Lord, having allowed His minister to speak, confirmed by further visions the reality of those which had already been vouchsafed to her.
"who was ever increas Himself after this showed me, time so often to me that I lost all my fears. Sometimes after receiving Communion He showed Himself so
"

Our

Lord,"

the saint says,


to

ing His goodness

much Master of my soul that I remained, as it were, our confounded before Him." Again," she says, Lord almost always showed Himself as He is after It was the same in the Host His Resurrection. only at those times when I was in trouble and it was His will to strengthen me, did He show me His wounds. Sometimes I saw Him on the cross, in the garden, Sometimes crowned with thorns, but that was rarely. if I also carrying His cross, because of my necessities But in His so or those of others. always may say
"
"

glorified

body."

imagine the effect of such graces on and ardent soul. She found herself pure with a on fire love of God which utterly changed, became every day more intense and this earth would have been a Thabor, if the thorns of contradiction and persecution had not multiplied at the same time,
easily

One may
s

Teresa

TERESA S TRIALS INCREASE


wounding her
heart.
feet,

147

nay, oft-times piercing her to the


;

The storm was ever growing foolish tales grew into serious calumnies these were the reports that spread among the ignorant. Among the learned there were other rumours afloat they talked of exorcising our saint in order to deliver her from the delusion of the
:
;

devil.
pain."

"This

idea,"

says Teresa,

"caused

me no
received

What

she

felt

much more was an order she


to

He was really present. What is she to do? How is it possible to obey a command which obliges her to make a of the cross sign to her Saviour as if He were a spirit of darkness, much more to repulse Him with a contemptuous gesture
this certitude that
!

that it was Jesus, her Saviour and her God, who deigned to visit her she may herself have felt for a moment the anguish of doubt concerning the divine origin of these favours, but never excepting at the time when she was not in The instant engaged prayer. our Lord appeared, that He spoke to her, she recog nized Him. Doubt was then no longer possible, and, to use her own emphatic language, she could be torn to bits before she could be deprived of this conviction,
;
"
"

She believed firmly

she had recourse in Fr. Baltasar s absence, which moved her soul to its very depths. Having told her that her visions and ecstasies came from the devil, this priest bade her make the sign of the cross whenever the evil spirit should appear^to her, and repulse him with a gesture of contempt, as assuredly it was he who presumed to take the appear ance of Jesus Christ in order to mislead her. No trial could have been greater than this for Teresa.
^

from a confessor

whom

Teresa could have alleged strong reasons for refusing to submit to the order. She had only to recall the

48

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

decision of St. Francis Borja, and even the opinion of She her ordinary confessor Fr. Baltasar Alvarez. of return the for wait to resolved could at least have

Not at all, the latter in order to consult him. the priest of direction the to her Baltasar had left

Fr.

who

had laid this terrible command on her. Teresa was aware that the path of obedience is ever the surest and the most pleasing to God accordingly she obeyed. cost effort the What her, God only knows. She obeys made the sign of the she her to When Jesus appeared she tried to push hand a with trembling cross, then but Him away from her, simultaneously she threw her the and self at His feet, thought of the outrages of the and on Mount Calvary occurring jews at the praetorium His to her, she implored pardon for acting as they had I behave in O done. loving Saviour," she cried, for You, love of out it is You towards this manner only have You whom those to and to submit myself Your take who and Your in place established Church,
; !
"

"if

with regard to my soul." And Jesus blessing His humble servant testified the value He set on her submission: "Console yourself, my He said to her, thou hast done well to daughter," 1 Fre will I Myself make the truth known." obey. the cross of the avoid to sign making quently Teresa, her rosary in her every moment, held the cross on as He ap hands, and presented it to our Lord as soon it from her took Saviour our One her. day peared to hands. When He gave it back to her, the ebony of which the beads were made was replaced by four than any diamonds, and precious stones more brilliant marvellous a saw Teresa these of representation of in one
"

the five sacred wounds.


visible only
to her to
1

whom

This holy jewel (which was it was given) remained in


No.
205.

Life, ch. XXTX. vide Boll.,

TERESA

SUBMISSION

149

Teresa s possession for some years. Finally her sister Juana, having pressed her to give it up to her, she made the sacrifice, not wishing to disclose the reason on ac count of which she held it so dear. 1 Thus the more Teresa abased herself in her humility, the greater sacrifices she made to holy obedience, the more our Saviour overpowered her with His divine

So the days and years passed by for our amidst supernatural joys and exterior trials, and she drew from both of them an ever increasing strength which prepared her for the arduous career which awaited her. But the particular sign which a
favours.
saint

gave

divine stamp to all her actions (one more admirable even than her ecstasies) was her perfect submission to the ruling of the Church. She knew well that the

most highly privileged, as well as the least and weakest of Christ s flock, can only walk in safety under the guiding staff of the pastors of the one true fold thus, rather than fly from it for one instant, she would struggle against her Divine Master Himself. Holy and touching efforts, which served but to unite her soul still more closely to her Conqueror and King Teresa paints in such vivid colours her devotion to her mother the Church, that we could not do better than close the
;
!

of the wonders she had so far received, and prepare our minds for those that are to follow, with her own words, These lines treating on this
recital

subject.

seem to set a seal of authenticity on the prodigies of a life which was almost wholly supernatural.
Speaking of herself as of another person, as is her constant habit, she says the following are the signs by
which the Spirit of God may be distinguished from that of Satan: look upon it as a most certain
"I

The

cross on this rosary

is

preserved at the Carmelite convent at

Valladolid.

150

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

will

truth that the devil will never deceive, and that God never suffer him to deceive, the soul which has no

confidence whatever in itself, which is strong in faith, and resolved to undergo a thousand deaths for any one article of the creed. To such a one no conceivable revelation, no not even if she saw the heavens open, could make her swerve in the slightest degree from the If the soul does not discern doctrines of the Church. this great strength in itself, and if the particular devo tion, or vision, help it not onwards, then it must not For though at first the soul look upon either as safe.
is

conscious of no great harm, great harm may by degrees come because as far as I have seen, and understand by experience, that which purports to come from God should be received only in so far as it corresponds with the sacred Scriptures. But if it varies therefrom ever so little, I am incomparably more convinced that it comes from Satan than I am now convinced it comes from God. In this case, there is no need to ask for signs, nor from what spirit it proceeds, because this divergence is so clear a sign of the devil s presence, that if all the world were to assure me it came from God I would not believe
;

it."

CHAPTER
will

XI

soon move more rapidly in Teresa s but her spiritual life and the inward preparation of her soul for the great works which God was about to accomplish by her means is still the subject which makes the greatest claim on our attention,

EVENTS history,
to
it

and

we propose giving one more chapter

before

turning to that of her public life. God s infinite goodness seemed well-nigh to exhaust its powers in the joys and favours conferred on Teresa
before she was to quit the life of silence and retirement which she was now leading. The outward circum stances of her life were the same. Her days were spent in her oratory, her cell, or in the accomplishment of the duties to which she was called by community life. She she was summoned there rarely visited the parlour occasionally to meet a relative, or some priest wishing to confer with her on spiritual subjects. She worked whenever her continual prayer and frequent raptures allowed of her doing so. A special mark which distinguished her from many other privileged souls was that even when she had only just come out of an ecstasy, and her soul was still rapt in a transport of love, she was able to conceal what was passing in her soul. She resumed her calm, she spoke and acted
;

with perfect simplicity, never betraying outwardly the wonders God had wrought in her yet while her gentle charity put itself at the service of all, her soul remained
;

151

152

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

fixed in the contemplation of

God, so that her prayer was hardly interrupted except by sleep. The world may smile in hearing this language, and

may

treat the transport of a saint as a folly

an intoxi

cation.

Well, may we not own that it is a divine intoxication, the folly of love? The intoxication of a
soul

which
;

in its exile catches a

Home

the folly of a heart which

glimpse of its Eternal is overcome with the


!

joy of loving its God without limit or measure, and being in turn loved by Him with an infinite love Give me a lover," cries St. Augustine, u and he will understand what I say. Give me a man of desires, one
"

who hungers
athirst
;

give

give me in this desert a pilgrim who is me one who is sighing after the eternal
say."

fountain, he will understand what I the same with regard to Teresa.

can say Loving, believing hearts, those athirst for God, will alone appreciate the previous history, as they alone will comprehend what is
to follow.

We

This incident, the most sublime, and perhaps the most salient in the mystical life of our saint, has been recognized, and its authenticity acknowledged by the
Church, by the permission she accords to the sons of Carmel to celebrate its commemoration every year on the 27th of August under the title of the transfixion of
the heart of St. Teresa.

As we have already said, Teresa was consumed with a desire to see God. Devoured with this longing, she was ever repeating with the prophet-king, "O my God, for Thee do 1 watch at break of day for Thee my
:

soul hath thirsted. the earth containing


.

Oh, how many ways


"to

"

And

cure a pang no remedy which came to her from heaven," she remained con fronted with her torment which nothing could appease,

unless

it

was the thought of death, that happy moment

TERESA S HEART TRANSFIXED


of departure to her true home.
1

153
in this

Whilst she was


she said,
"that I

state, pleased our Lord, have at times this vision.


"it

should

me, on

my

left side, in

bodily form.

saw an angel close by He was not large,

of small stature, and most beautiful, his face burning, as if he were one of the highest angels who seem to I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, be all of fire.

and

at the iron s point there

seemed

to be a little fire.

appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into heart, and when he drew it out he left me all on

He

my
fire

with the love of God." Was this a glorious vision? or an even more marvel
the future to decide, and the pilgrim to Avila has the power of proving it for him The heart of Teresa, miraculously preserved from self. decay, still keeps the mark of the divine wound, a long
lous fact?
It

was

left for

and deep cicatrice which divides it almost into two halves, and proves to the minutest detail the correct
ness of the account the saint gives of the miraculous and mysterious transfixion she received from the angel
of

God. Longer and even more

irresistible ecstasies followed


in

astounding prodigy. It was tried to hide them. As a giant


this

vain that Teresa lifts a straw (to use her own comparison), so the force of the rapture lifted her frequently off the ground in sight of the nuns and of the congregation assembled in the monastery chapel. A celestial beauty lit up her features on these occa sions, and her whole person seemed luminous and The Lord was exalting the humility of transfigured. His handmaid, and avenging her for the unjust accusa tions from which she had suffered. Teresa, longing to escape from the talk and rumours of which she was the object, complained sweetly to her divine Master of
the attention which these favours excited,

and implored

154
of

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


to let their effects

Him

remain hidden.

She shut
able,
to

herself

up

in

her

cell

as

much

as she

was

society she enjoyed a foretaste of Paradise. It was at this time that a breath of divine poetry caused her, like David, to break out
in

commune

with

Him

Whose

Such hymns as the following she after her heart had been pierced (which composed with a fiery dart) came spontaneously to her lips
into inspired canticles.
:

felt

a blow within my inmost heart, sudden blow within this heart of mine,

The Hand that made that wound was Hand Divine, For mighty working s followed from the smart. That sudden blow, it left me wounded sore
;

Yet from that death new

life

sprang forth once more.

Divine His Hand, of strength beyond compare Even in the bitterest struggle of our life

He cleaves in triumph through the surging strife And works the works of might which show Him there.
divine love by which she had been other characteristics, besides a great joy. To those ignorant in such matters it is commonly supposed that divine love is purely a speculative affair, a happy dream enjoyed by elect souls. Those who are consumed by it can easily disprove this contention, for what effort of unaided man can equal the words, and Who can actions, and sacrifices made by the saints? that there is a a a zeal, deny devotion, generosity in the soul animated by divine love unattainable by one urged by a less worthy motive? And the reason is as l simple as it is profound, a servant of God gives it, because love renders friends equal." How should
dart of
left

The

transfixed

"

B.

Margaret Mary.

THE SAINT S VOW


we

155

love One Whose providence never rests; One Who never ceases working for our good, and creating for us how fresh helps and succour on our path to heaven love Him Who took flesh and lived with us on earth only in order to devote Himself to our service how love Him without working as Fie has worked, without
; ;

sacrificing

His sake?
love
;

all

and without suffering cheerfully for This therefore is the primordial law of the saints have understood it in this light,
self,

and Teresa, whose love was as great as that of any saint, understood it likewise in this manner. But what could she do for God? Without any
authority in her monastery, with no influence outside, her friends far from being edified taking scandal at her life without prestige or power in the world, or
;

of acquiring any. offer God but her heart.

There was nothing she could But this was sufficient for the accomplishment of an act of heroism which is

means

almost unequalled in the history of the lives of saints. This divine inspiration, which was approved by Fr. Baltasar, and authorized by the Apostolic Visitor

and by the Fr. General, was nothing than a vow which St. Teresa made to do whatever she believed to be most pleasing to God. Could she have pushed generosity to greater lengths? All God s commandments, all that the monastic
of her Order,
less

rule enjoined, everything that reason, justice, charity

demanded

what

temperance,

prudence,

strength,

patience, sweetness, humility, truth, and every other virtue required, and this not only in any ordinary

measure, but in carrying out their laws to the highest that is what Teresa promised to pitch of perfection God in her heroic vow. And this chain, this heavy burden, whose weight would be sufficient to stagger even the saints themselves, she took upon her shoulders
:

156

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

with the same joyful alacrity with which she pronounced the vows of her spiritual espousals. 1

The saint, satisfied at last, since she had nothing further to give, only sought henceforth how she could best fulfil her engagement. In spite of her tenderness of conscience she gave way to no scruples, nor was she
worried about
trifles in its fulfilment.

She made
our Lord
s

are told in the

Roman

breviary, at

it, we word
;

she depended, therefore, on His divine help to carry it out in a manner pleasing to Him. Twenty-two years
of inviolable fidelity were to succeed and justify this

sublime promise. Five years after Teresa had pro nounced this vow, the formula (only) of it was changed at her director s request, by the authority of the
Superior-General of the Carmelites. It was decided, in order to relieve our saint from the uncertainty into which she might be thrown, in hesitating between two courses, both tending to God s glory, the decision in such cases, as to which was the most perfect, should be left to her director thus without relieving her from the obligation she had contracted she added to it the further merit of obedience. 2 This was our divine Saviour s finishing stroke to the hidden work He had so long carried on in Teresa s soul. Out of that ardent impulsive nature, that pro foundly loving, sweet, and untainted heart, He had
;

What treasures of divine grace, what of years patience, and, above all, what oceans of love had not He, as we have seen, put into His divine And also what a masterpiece, what an incom work
created a saint.
!

parable saint was the result.

The hour was now at hand when she was drawn from her retreat, in order to work in
1

to be

with

the service

Boll.,
"

Xo.

230.
ch. x.

Ribcra,

Book IV,

HER PREPARATION FOR WORK


of

157

God and of His Church. Her public mission was about to begin, and it was necessary that she should be armed with an invincible humility against the glory
and renown which were to accompany it. Our Lord s soul to pass provided for this by allowing Teresa trials, and of temptations interior of a series through These are words in which of the most painful kind. she describes the tortures her soul underwent at the
time of which
"

are speaking. I suffered the most grievous she times," says, trials together with bodily pains and afflictions, arising from violent sickness, so much so that I could scarcely At other times my bodily sickness control

we

At

"

myself.

was more grievous, and as I had no spiritual pain I But when both pains came upon me bore it with joy. was so heavy that I was reduced distress together my I to sore straits. forgot all the mercies our Lord had shown me, and remembered them only as a dream to my great distress for my understanding was so dull that I had a thousand doubts whether I had ever under stood matters aright, thinking perhaps all was fancy, and that it was enough for me to have deceived myself I looked upon my without also deceiving good men. self as so wicked as to have been the cause by my sins This of all the evils and heresies that had sprung up. it the for is but false humility, and Satan invented pur he could whether and me of trying disquieting pose
;

It happened to me thereby drive my soul to despair. once to be tempted in this way, and I remember it was on the day before the vigil of Corpus Christi. The trial then lasted only till the day of the feast, but on other occasions it continued one, two, or even three But I was specially liable to it during Holy weeks.

Week, when it was my habit to make my prayer my Then the devil seizes on my imagination in a joy.

158

THE
;

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

occasionally by means of things so trivial should laugh at them at any other time, and he makes me stumble at will. The soul, in fetters, loses all control over itself, and accordingly, so it seems to
that
I

moment

me, the devil makes a football of it, and the soul is un It is impossible to able to escape out of his hands. describe the sufferings of the soul in this state." 1 But the devil, having blunted his weapons against the serene firmness of the saint, was not prepared yet
to give
"

up

all

Sometimes,"

for lost he returned to the charge. Teresa says, "temptations seemed to


;

press

down

the soul, and

make

it

dull, so that its

know

ledge of God becomes to it as that of something which it hears far away. So tepid is its love that when it hears God spoken of it listens and believes that He is what He is, because the Church so teaches, but it recollects nothing of its own former experience. Vocal prayer or solitude is only a greater affliction because
the interior suffering
to
is

unendurable, and, as

it

seems

some measure a counterpart of hell. I used exterior to try good works in order to occupy myself partly by violence, and I know well how weak a soul is when grace is hiding itself. It did not distress me much, because the sight of my own meanness gave me some satisfaction. On other occasions I find myself
me,
in

unable to pray or to fix my thoughts with any distinct ness upon God. My soul also is occasionally subject
to a certain foolishness (that is the right name to give it) when I seem to be neither doing good nor evil,

without pain or pleasure, indifferent to life or death, pain and pleasure, marching like a little ass in the

wake

of

others."

To what

sufferings
J

was our
-

saint

now reduced

after

Life, ch. xxx. Ibid,, ch. xxx.

STRIPPED OF HER POSSESSIONS


;

159
!

enjoying the divine consolations on her mount Thabor He is silent and in Jesus robs her of His presence. His absence the earth is to Teresa as a desert, without
food or water. Far from giving way to discourage ment, she proceeds on her way undaunted by the trial, and she explains it in the following manner In this life on earth," she says, the growth of the
:
" "

soul

is

grown up and
in size,

A youth that is not like that of the body. \vho has become a man does not lessen

but as to the soul, it is so by our Lord s will, but so far as I have seen it in my own experience I know nothing of it in any other way. It must be in order to humble us for our greater good, and to keep us from being careless during our exile." 1 Again are the touching scenes told in the history of Job renewed, in another form, in our saint s cell. Given up, like the patriarch, to Satan s attacks, Teresa sees herself stripped of all her spiritual possessions. Ecstasies, visions, interior consolations all are gone, and still she continues to bless the holy name of God, and continues with ever increasing fidelity to serve her Divine Master. The devil, furious at his defeat, is allowed to attack her visibly having tortured her soul, she is tormented by him under the bodily form of a negro, and under other even more revolting shapes. Teresa sees him close to her, in her cell, she hears his threats, and vanquishes him with a sign of the cross and holy water. Having multiplied instances of the How great is the efficacy of the latter, she cries out of water for As me, my soul is conscious power holy of a special and most distinct consolation whenever I take it. And I have a joy in reflecting that the words of the Church are so mighty that they endow water with power, so that there should be so great difference
;
"

LiTc, ch. xv.

i6o

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

between holy water and water that has never been


blessed."

Strange and mysterious pains succeeded these terrible apparitions, and our saint s body seemed on the rack but though she came out of them bruised and worn, her soul remained in peace. The nuns of the Incarna her alarmed tion, by sufferings, applied every kind of all with perfect fortitude, and she but bore remedy,
;

prayed and offered to God her interior anguish, which was even greater than her bodily sufferings. Satan s efforts to vanquish her constancy but added to the lustre of her crown. She had little fear of the enemy On one occasion she says: of mankind. took up the cross in my hand, and it seemed as if God had
"I

really given

me courage enough
all

not to be afraid of

It seemed to me that the evil spirits. encountering I could with the cross easily defeat them altogether.

Come on, all of you. I am the So I cried out, servant of our Lord, what can you do against me? and certainly they seemed to be afraid of me, for I was I feared them so little, that the terrors left in peace.
which
until now oppressed me left me altogether on the contrary, they seemed to be afraid of me. I found myself endowed with a certain authority over them,

for

me by the Lord of all, so that I cared no more them than flies. I do not understand these terrors which make us call out Satan, Satan when we may say God, God and make Satan tremble. Do we not
given
!
!

permission of does it mean ? I am really much more afraid of those people who have so great a fear of the devil than I am of the devil himself." l Teresa had but too great reason for holding this last opinion, for the private inquisition of Avila still pursued

know
God.

that he cannot stir without the

What

Li/}

ch. xxxi.

THE PRIVATE INQUISITION


and

161

her with a watchful and suspicious eye. Caspar Daza Francisco de Salcedo were agreed, and their opinion was backed up by that of half the good citizens of A vila, not omitting the nuns of her own convent,

work of Satan. The without losing any of her peaceful serenity, or engaging in any lengthy and useless controversies, had but one answer for her adversaries and that was that the proofs that our Lord has given her of His divine presence in her soul were too powerful and too sweet for her to doubt for an instant that He was the author of them. For," as she tells us in her I Life, was poor and He has made me rich. He has me given treasures of great price as His love-tokens. Those who knew me before see the change in me. No never can I believe that the devil could tear out my faults by the
saint,
:
"
"

that Teresa s ecstasies were the

roots,

and give me courage and strength

things for the glory of

God

for

to dare all such are the results of

my
of

visions."

of peace, whom God sent to console His in the trials of her Gethsemane.

Baltasar Alvarez, without Teresa being aware used the same language in it, defending her. But the storm did not calm down till the arrival of an angel

Fr.

humble servant

Spain

at this

different

number of her saints, and the treatment meted out to them by their countrymen was, in most cases, very
from that accorded
at

time could hardly keep count of the

this time

to

of St. Francis, of St. Dominic, of St. Igna tius, protected by the glorious name of their founders, freely exercised a great and striking ascendancy over their nation. The inhabitants of Castile received friars such as Peter of Alcantara, or members of the Society of Jesus such as St. Francis Borja, with warmest ovations people thronged round them on their journeys
;

The sons

Teresa.

162

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

their lips,

holy words that dropped from and to receive their blessing. Thus at the time when Teresa was suffering in heart, and soul, and body in the cloisters of the Incarnation, Providence sent one of the most remarkable living saints of the day
in order to listen to the to help her.

St. Peter of Alcantara, habited in the

rough

Order, barefooted and bareheaded, worn and emaciated, with a frame which could only be compared to the rugged bark of some tree, was at this time making a visitation of the monasteries of the province confided to his care. This holy man had nearly reached the termination of a long life consumed in the exercise of an almost preternatural austerity, and of He had done a great work in great heights of prayer. his Order by forming a nucleus of brothers of the strict Observance, and he was now sent by God to our saint in order to reassure her regarding the miraculous events of her past life, and to prepare her for those which were to come. Dona Guiomar, having learned
sackcloth
of his
that this holy man was to come to Avila, saw at once the profit that she could gain from this event in her She obtained leave accordingly from friend s behalf.

the Carmelite provincial to take Teresa to her house, and there arranged for a meeting between the t\vo saints. Favoured as both had been by the same

supernatural graces, St. Peter, with his long ex perience and his great knowledge of mystical science, was able to enlighten and reassure Teresa on many difficulties which had hitherto troubled her. In those days," she says, U I had great difficulty in explaining myself, or in giving account of the graces
"

our Saviour had given


stood

me

but this holy father under


clear

He perfectly. intelligible to me about

me

made everything

and

my

they came from God, and

visions, assured me that after the great truths of

ST.

PETER OF ALCANTARA

163

religion there was nothing I was to be more sure of, or more bound to believe." Not satisfied with having thus completely reassured Teresa, St. Peter of Alcantara was determined to put a stop to a persecution, which even this humble and holy old man looked upon as one of the greatest trials in
life,

that of well-meaning

men
s,

accordingly he visited
to

Fr.

Baltasar at St. Giles

and there spoke

him

about Teresa s supernatural life. if My confessor," Teresa confides to us, "did not require to be reassured on these points, but this was not the case with regard to another person." This other person we can easily guess was Don Francisco
at great length
;

by his reputation for sanctity, and still more by the profound reasons and explana tions which he gave, persuaded this excellent but over
cautious man to cease his persecutions of our saint. In leaving Avila, St. Peter arranged with Teresa that she was to keep him informed of all that to

St. Peter of Alcantara,

her consoled, and prepared to pursue her way with a firm tread through the desert in which it had pleased her Divine Master for some time to lead her. But already this time of trial appeared to be nearing its termination. Teresa s soul began once more to re ceive the consoling rays of divine consolation, and to
her.
left

He

happened

expand beneath them the desolations were not con tinuous, and at times our Saviour showed mercy to
;

into rejoicing. my soul was a prey to aridity and my body to infirmity, and it appeared to me that in spite of all my desire it was impossible for me to pray, a sudden ecstasy used to take
her,
"Often,"

changing her mourning


she says,

"when

of

me

possession

in a

way

that

could not

resist."

Thus, consoled at heart by her good Master, sus tained by a saint s blessing, and the encouragement

64

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Fr. Baltasar, who no longer feared to give it, Teresa began to breathe again. The murmurs around her gradually abated. Her sisters in religion, who had never ceased to entertain affection for her, began to treat her with less suspicion than they had done for some time past. Those distinguished for their fervour

of

and piety began to consult her, and she rejoiced to see the practice of mental prayer spreading and taking root Some of Teresa s nieces about this in the convent. time had been sent to the Incarnation to be educated Teresa was as much attached to them as they to her. Life once more smiled on her, and she enjoyed the
;

peace of monastic

life.

But she was not made

for

terrifying vision tore her from her pious repose. to her interior tranquillity, and gave a new direction the holy contemplative into an transforming life,
apostle.

Teresa, whilst at prayer, was conscious of being transported into the infernal regions; how this was done she is unable to say. She tries to describe the horrors that struck her sight, the terror that seized

One day

all

fixed her

her members, the unspeakable tortures that trans but language was wanting to complete the turns then to the mental sufferings of She picture. Here again the agony of mind, the the damned.
;

heart-shattering tortures of these hapless beings, the forces her to bitter, despairing sadness of the scene, 1 her In the anguish she is made description. give up to understand that God willed that she should see the

had place to which she would have been condemned she not changed her way of life. This signifies, re marked Ribera, her faithful biographer, that going from little faults into greater she would have slipped into the fatal inclined plane of tepidity, and thence by
1

Life, ch.

xxxn.

THE MERCY OF GOD


;

165

one fall after another have reached the abyss we know, of hell, however, that she was never in actual danger the on her arrested had edge hand for God s paternal
of the precipice. This vision was to come upon Teresa as a fresh was so terrified," she says, "that though light. it^took place nearly six years ago the natural warmth think of my body is chilled by fear, even now when I Then directing a glance at herself, she breaks of Blessed for ever be and love: out in
"I
it."
"

and O how manifest it is that Thou I see didst love me much more than I did love Thee. which 1 deserved to burn. myself out of that hell in The history of my life should have for title The mercy Then soon after, forgetting what concerns of God."
Thou,

thanksgiving
!

O my God

herself,

her soul up to the contemplation of tortures higher things. Those flames and inexpressible from which God had saved her, are every moment to see God and swallowing up souls created like hers it possible that I can "Is love Him for all she
lifts

eternity.

take an

eyes

How

instant s rest with such a sight before my can I live, or sleep in peace whilst number
"

less souls are

being lost Broken-hearted and beside herself, she throws her Himself on our Lord s breast, and weeps with to tell Him Lloraba con el Sefwr." She implores her what she could do to save unfortunate souls from Her anguish the misery that awaits them hereafter. sides. is by the sad news she hears on all
!
"

augmented

of the ravages Spain has been ringing with the tidings It Luther. wrought all over Europe by the errors of and to France, is now said that they are spreading that that country is torn asunder with religious dissen
sion.
1

What

will

happen

if

France, the pre-eminently


of Alba (Boll.. No. 275).

Letter to Fedro de Castro,

Canon

166

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

What

Christian nation, rejects the religion of her forefathers? a misfortune for the Church if she is deserted by her staunchest support, her eldest daughter to our "With the greatest sorrow of heart I clung to not Him and conjured and I Lord s
!

feet,

wept

would have given I misfortunes happen. had I had them, to save willingly a thousand lives, one of these unfortunate, misguided people. But alas what could a poor weak woman like myself do in the cause of our Divine Master?" With no other resources than her prayers and her Teresa never ceased interceding for the con
let

such

tears,

version

of

heretics

and

the

salvation

of

sinners.

should be preserved Especially she prayed that France The blessed germ of missionary zeal, to the faith. which was the raison d etre of her Foundations, thus

grew

shade fostered by sufferings endured under After the the eye, and in the presence of God alone.
in the

were successively sufferings of hell, the joys of Heaven shown to her by striking figures. She would have wished to have given some idea of what it was per
mitted to her to see, but human words were wanting to I should express those supernatural manifestations. the even describe like, if I could," she tells us, "to it find not do I least striking of these visions, but brilliant and The most vivid power possible to do so.
"

of

con language would be incapable of giving any revealed Lord our ception of the smallest of the wonders to me. Having no words to describe the unspeakable sweetness which filled my heart and inundated my soul,
forced to be silent." to her eternity unveiled its profound mysteries the realities and by the side of these supreme things of and this life appeared but as shadows phantoms in had which she The truths of her sight. caught a
I

am

Thus

GOD AND SOULS

167

glimpse in her childhood and shared with her brother Rodriguez, the thoughts on which she had meditated with her uncle Pedro, now absorbed her mind and heart. God and souls Heaven and hell eternal
happiness or eternal woe eternal love or eternal hate these were the thoughts that burnt, as it were, into her The one longing brain, ancl for which alone she lived. that consumed her was to save sinners from hell and
misery,

Heaven.
life.

and to give them to happiness, love, and For this object she willingly offered up her

The tranquil existence she led in her convent, the too indulgent laws by which it was governed, began Was not a true monastic life to weigh heavily on her.
Rule of Carmel ? and prayer compatible with the liberty enjoyed by the communities in which it prevailed, a liberty which was ever leading to breaches of the enclosure? Teresa felt herself surrounded with difficulties, and though prepared for any and every sacrifice, she was ignorant how to set to work to over come them. Providence was about to show her the way. One day," we read in the history of the Reform, "Mother Teresa, reflecting on the graces God had given her, and the lights she had received on the eternity of joys and pains, felt herself seized with an ardent desire to live a perfect life, and to give herself up utterly to the service of God. This desire was followed by another which was to serve God by keeping the Rule in its per fection." The historian of the Carmelite Order gives us even clearer details of what passed through our saint s mind. She began to think," he says, "how she could shake herself free from the dispensations of the mitigated Rule, so as to give herself up to God after the example of the holy hermits her predecessors. She longed to bring fervent souls who would be a small number of together
impossible

under

the

mitigated

Were

the

duties

of

silence

"

"

68

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

prepared to embrace perfect poverty, complete severance from the world, constant prayer, and the austerity of the primitive Rule. Full of this idea, which was not a pious dream but an ardent resolve, she pictured her self surrounded by a few generous souls, who like her would vow themselves to the more perfect life. As
her soul was ravished by these pious thoughts her heart rejoiced, and she seemed to be already enjoying this
state of perfection which would have made life a para dise to her. She imagined herself living in a humble

and
pied

strictly
all

enclosed house, dressed in sackcloth, occu

day with prayer, and supporting herself by manual labour, she and her companions devoting
entirely
to

themselves
Master."
l

the service

of

their

beloved

But these happy dreams had their sad awakening. Teresa was perhaps brought back to the realities of life by an importunate request for her presence in the parlour, or by a visit which the orders of her superior obliged her to accept. Again she found herself forced away from her beloved solitude, and with no human
means, apparently, of carrying out her wishes. God From one little grain was, however, working for her.
of seed, one word whispered in the air like hundreds which the wind carries away with it, He was about to raise up the great tree of a Reformed Carmel.
1

History of the Order, Vol.

I,

Bk.

II, ch.

i.

CHAPTER

XII

was on the i6th of July, the feast of our Lady of Mount IT Carmel, that the idea was first mooted by Teresa s young niece, Maria de Ocampo, of founding
a convent of Reformed Carmelites. Though the idea did not originate with the saint, it must have chimed in with all her wishes and aspirations. Nevertheless, with that instinct of prudence and common sense which

were almost as strongly characteristic of Teresa as ardour and energy, she at first (as she tells us in her Soon afterwards she received a visit Life) held back. from her friend Dona Guiomar again the subject was She had the same discussed, and the saint remarks wish that I had. She began to consider how she could provide a revenue for the house." Here the plan evidently progressed a step further, and before Teresa
;
"

and Dona Guiomar separated they agreed


the matter with
all

"to

commit

earnestness to God." Teresa wished to assure herself before everything what was God s will in the matter, and she was not left

long
says,

in uncertainty.
day,"
"

"One

after

soon after the previous events, she Communion, our Lord commanded me to

labour with

all
:

my might
that the

for this end.

He made me

great promises built, that He would take great delight therein, that it should be called St. Joseph s, that St. Joseph should keep guard at one door and our Lady at the other, and that Christ would be in the midst of us that the
;

monastery would certainly be

169

170

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


;

monastery would be a star, and would shine in splen dour that though the religous Orders were then re

was not to suppose He was scantily served in them, for what would become of the world if there were
laxed,
I

no religious

in it?

"

words went home. To save souls and to glorify God were motives for which the saint felt her self strong enough to embark on any enterprise, how ever arduous. Also, since God had promised that she should attain her end, the obstacles she was to en counter were of no importance in her sight. Tell your confessor," He had also said, "the command I have laid on you, and tell him from Me

These

last

"

that he

is

The order was formal

not to oppose, or thwart you in the matter." there was nothing left for
;

Teresa to do but to obey. Still she could not refrain from casting one look at what she was about to give up, and also one at what she had undertaken. For it meant that she would have to leave behind the fine monastery in which she had passed the early days of her religious life, and where she had received innumerable graces those beautiful gardens to whose shady walks and limpid streams she had grown deeply attached a cell which she had looked upon almost as a home, 1 an existence without worldly cares in short, a thousand advantages which she seemed only to begin to appre ciate when on the point of losing them. In the future she could only see before her difficulties and contra dictions, great isolation, and above all overwhelming Nature indeed shuddered, but grace responsibilities. triumphed accordingly Teresa went to her confessor and gave him an account of all that had passed. Fr. Baltasar refused to decide on his own authority
;
;

"La

casa, era

may

ini

gusto, y la celda

muy

a mi proposito

"

(Life, ch. xxxn.).

THE REFORM OF CARMEL


on so important a matter.

171

passed the saint on to and Fr. de Salazar, the provincial of the Carmelites, communi difficult to Teresa, finding that it would be of her cate with Fr. de Salazar without the knowledge the inform Dona Guiomar to superior, commissioned the where latter of her design of founding a convent wrote herself Rule would be followed. Teresa

He

original at the same time to her former friend and benefactor, She also St. Peter of Alcantara, to ask his advice.

consulted St. Francis Borja, and St. Louis Beltran, the great Dominican theologian, who was then master Three great Orders of the of novices at Valencia.

by means of answers their principal representatives, and the person of His were unanimous. God, speaking in and encouraged and blessed Teresa, saints,

Church were therefore convoked

in council

their

praised

the undertaking.
St.

Mother Louis in answering her letter said: affair the as and Teresa, I have received your letter on which you consult me is of the highest importance
;

for

honour and glory, I recommended it to Him in my prayers at the Holy Sacrifice; for this reason I now tell you in our I delayed my answer to you. Lord s name to arm yourself with courage in order to and I can execute your great enterprise, God aiding assure you on His authority that before fifty years are over your Order will be one of the most illustrious in the Church." The approval of St. Francis Borja and The latter St. Peter of Alcantara was no less marked. her to scheme, not only encouraged the saint pursue but gave her much useful advice on the manner of con one had greater ducting a work of whose difficulties no

God

knowledge or experience than he had.


to

Finally Fr. de

Salazar listened favourably his jurisdio promised to take the new Foundation under

Dona Guiomar, and

172
tion.

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

Teresa had feared that the opposition she would meet from the head of her own Order would be the most difficult to overcome, but this was not the case and at first it seemed that all she had to do was to find a house and establish herself in it. This at least was the state of matters when her great design was first mooted. Alas under the appearance of great calm clouds were gathering all around. We must, in order to understand the violence of the storm which broke over Avila against the saint, give one look at the state of the Church and the Carmelite Order at this time. Europe had been for nearly half a century a prey to agitations consequent on the rise of the Lutheran But Spain, protected in part by the doctrines. Pyrenees, and still more by a faith which the struggles of eight hundred years had rendered wellnigh in vincible, had kept the doctrines of the Church in all
;

purity throughout every part of her territory. the contagion, had none of that need of reform, the necessity of which was so
their

Thus Spain, exempt from

strongly felt by all the other Christian nations, and to which the Council of Trent in her immortal canons

and

so nobly responded. What Luther, the apostate monk, his abettors professed to do, or rather the pretext

they took as an excuse for their revolt the suppression of abuses, the reformation of the clergy and of the the Council with its sovereign religious Orders
authority and
its

divinely inspired prudence actually

accomplished. Whilst the innovators defiled the world with the scandals of their lives, and appalled it with their blasphemies, the Church, gathering fresh strength from her trials, offered to the world, as pledges of the immortality of her principles and of her life, on one side those admirable decrees, and on the other a legion
of great souls

worthy of sustaining the dignity of their

THE TRUE REFORMERS


rebel sons

173

Mother, and avenging her from the affronts of her by their virtues and the astounding selfabnegation of their lives. These saints, following the great impulse given in that direction by the Council of Trent, were nearly all reformers. They followed the stream of Christian life, of religious life, and of the apos tolic life back to its fountain-head and in the very midst
;

of the

pagan self-indulgence and luxury of the Renas

cence they recalled the days of the early Christians,

and

of the saints of the desert by the austerity of their


that,

lives.

No wonder

like

the earliest pioneers

of the

religion of the Crucified One, they met with obstacles in their conquest of the world. The sight of their heroism was an offence and a reproach to the world in

which they lived still more did it resent their teach from the circumstances ing, and vSpain in particular which we have just mentioned had no wish to join in
;

this

crusade of reparation. The shortcomings among both clergy and cloistered monks, the scandals of court life were everywhere of too notorious a nature in and the France, Germany, and Italy to be ignored general feeling among Christian peoples was in favour of stern measures of reform, even when in practice But the kingdom of they sought to evade them.
;

Ferdinand and Isabella was


and,
attached to
its

free from these disgraces, ancient customs and its time-

honoured institutions, it sought to preserve them intact. Spain was proud of its numberless monasteries, and had no thought of reproaching them with a relaxation of their rules which only tended to make them more accessible to the outer world. No crying abuses roused the alarm of the country. If the monks did not work, and the nuns lived too much in the parlour, and austerities were things of the past, at least the morals

174

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


Why
therefore trouble

of the country remained pure. the peace of these pious refugees?


tions,

Surely they are but visionary dreams Such was the resistance Teresa met with from with out but she was soon to encounter still greater opposi tion in the bosom of her own religious family of the
!

enclose them behind the grille ? they asked, are these?

Why, above all, What sort of innova

Order of Carmelites.
of the Incarnation, not having yet year of its existence, had known no Rule except that of the Mitigation, and the ancient traditions of the Order were therefore but a glorious

The monastery

counted the

fiftieth

memory, which

entailed

no

sacrifice

on

its

members.

The nuns would no doubt speak with

pride of their

Father and founder the prophet Elias, of St. Albert Patriarch of Jerusalem, their law-giver St. Berthold, their first general of the Latin race St. Simon Stock the privileged devotee of Mary, of B. John Soreth, the last

and most illustrious restorer of the Order in the West. But would these great saints have acknowledged a monastery frequented by seculars, provided with most of the conveniences of life, dispensed from the greater
primitive fasts as their heritage, or recognized its sons or daughters as their spiritual children ? These mitigations we repeat had not been introduced by the community of the Incarnation. The convent had been founded on the Rule granted by Pope Eugenius IV, and the nuns could therefore
liberty and peaceful existence and yet to their religious engagements. No were ever levelled against them for their reproaches violation of these, and St. Teresa affirms more than

number

of the

enjoy

their

remain

faithful

once, and the

Carmelite

historians

agree

with

her

testimony, that the convent

had the reputation of being

THE MITIGATED RULE

75

one of the most fervent of its day. If their Rule was not one of great austerity, they had the merit, at least, of keeping it with fidelity. And yet it was but a shadow of the glorious religious monument of which tradition declares Elias laid the foundation, and which legions of saints had laboured to build up in the course of ages.

The

base of the

majestic figure of the great prophet guarding the monument denotes the character and sets

a stamp on the whole spiritual edifice. The spirit of prayer and solitude, of contemplation and of zeal, passed

down from generation

to generation by a religious tribe, the spiritual sons of Elias, had survived till the coming of had given a fresh direction to their lives, Christ, and transformed the austere Essenes into disciples of have no space to relate how the Order the Cross.

Who

We

of Carmel, after having spent thirteen centuries of the Christian era on the mountain of Elias, and multiplied

the East by the

over Palestine, was exterminated in and sword of the Saracens. The monks who escaped from the massacres passed into Europe, whither many of their brethren had preceded
its

Foundations

all

fire

them

after the failure of the Crusade led by Richard Coeur de Lion and Philip Augustus fifty years before. They had already eight provinces of the Order at that time in Europe, and in the following century they could count nineteen flourishing communities all animated by the

same
in

spirit
1

and the same fervour.


its

The Rule they had


and law-giver,
the
solitaries

common was

that of the patriarch

St.

Albert;
]

and by

prescriptions

of

According to the Speculum Carmelitanum, St. Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, had drawn up the Rule of Carmel at the request of St. Brocarcl in 1191 or 1207. This Rule, venerated as the primitive one of the Order, elates back to a much greater antiquity. St. Albert s work was to throw li^ht on certain points in the Observance which were submitted to him for his decision, and his approbation g ave force to laws

and customs which had existed from time immemorial.

76

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

France, Italy, and England lived, like their fathers of Palestine, in silence, prayer and seclusion, perpetual To a burn abstinence, and almost continual fasting. ing love of our Divine Saviour they united a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, which their forefathers had been amongst the first to cultivate, and which earned for them the name of the Brothers of Mary. Such was Carmel in the days of her greatness. Her annals were being constantly enriched by fresh prodi
gies,

and the earth was sanctified, and Heaven peopled by her members. But this glorious period in the annals of Mount Carmel was succeeded by one of decadence. The Order did not escape the universal relaxation of fervour

which, beginning in the middle, increased towards the end of the fourteenth century. The scourge of pesti lence the Black death after having ravaged Asia and Africa, swept over Europe, where it more than decimated the population, and struck terror into Another still greater evil, because a every heart. moral one, the Great Schism of the East, was at this time deeply disturbing men s minds, fomenting religious discussion, and introducing the element of strife even into the cloister. So terrible was the war that raged, that had it been possible for the Church to
perish,
it would Her inevitably have perished then. bereavements were indeed great and the sight of her
;

great religious families joining in the universal move ment and seeking to throw off the yoke of ancient laws,

and asking for dispensations, in short, endeavouring to approximate their lives more nearly to those led by Like seculars, w as not the least severe of her trials. the rest of the world, the sons of Elias found their Rule too severe, their fasts and their prayers beyond their strength, and, above all, their seclusion too strict.
r

SPIRIT OF
They succeeded
severity of their

THE ORDER OF CARMEL


in

177

obtaining a mitigation of the extreme Rule from Eugenius IV through their

Their monastic life, till then general, John de Facy. beautiful and pure, because it was strict, became weak

ened under these concessions.

The

character proper

to the Order, the spirit of solitary prayer which con verted every monastery into a solitude and every religi

ous into a hermit, rapidly disappeared.


efforts

In vain were

made
;

in individual instances to resist the

general

honourable as were these exceptions, and much as the souls of these holy men profited person ally, they made little impression on their brethren. For what is more difficult than to struggle up stream, or to fight against a crowd, with all the natural forces of man arrayed on the other side ? To the Blessed John Soreth belongs the distinction
current
of being the solitary exception to the universal rule,

and of having given a strong impulse to the work of reform. He has another claim on our interest from having instituted the second Order for women. John Soreth obtained from Nicholas V the Bull Cum
nulla in the
first

by which he and

year of his election (1442) as general, his successors were accorded the

privileges (granted previously to St. Augustine and St. Dominic) of admitting nuns into the Order under the

thus enabling them to participate in its in dulgences and privileges. This holy man founded six convents for nuns during his lifetime. After his death the Carmelite Order spread in France, the Netherlands, in Italy, and in Spain. But by degrees these convents, being necessarily subject to the provincials of the
mitigated Rule, lost sight of the principles of their holy founder for how could they show themselves more rigid
;

same Rule

Observance than were their spiritual fathers and brethren? Accordingly Blessed John Soreth s
in their

i7<S

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
;

Reform survived him only in a very few houses the mitigated Rule prevailed elsewhere. This was the state of things when Teresa took up her She work, alone, without resources, power, or credit. had to disinter the primitive Rule, which was buried in the dust of ages, and to follow it a weak woman with the small company of elect souls whom our Lord was to in spire to join her. It is not difficult to guess the reception such an enterprise was likely to meet with both from the The fury of the Evil One world and the cloister.

may

also be imagined.
all

If the saint

had tasted already


sanctification

of the chalice of tribulation

when seeking

eyes in her cell, she was now, that her public life was about to begin, to drink it to the dregs. She was, however, prepared for the trial. To a natural courage (which she owns herself was not small) she joined an unalterable sweetness and patience which was the fruit of her deep faith. For one who walks, as she did, with eyes fixed on eternity, the troubles of this life were of but secondary importance.

hidden from

"All things pass!" was Teresa s joyous cry. This, her favourite saying, she wrote with a few others in her breviary they were the key-note to her behaviour during the stormy times which were impending.
;

Let nothing trouble thee, Let nothing vex thee,


All thing s pass.

God

alone changes not.


all

Patience obtains

thing s,
for

He who
God

possesses

God wants

nothing

sufficeth.

sooner was the project of the new Foundation known, than, as Teresa says, great opposition
"a

No

OPPOSITION TO TERESA
of the

S
it

DESIGNS

179

People began by laughing at it town, and the saint and


to

became the topic

Dona Guiomar had

much
them.
cry.

do

in

answering
an absurd

all

"What

idea!"

u Let the nun stay la trouble her head about anything outside its doors, for especially anything so unnecessary as a new Foundation. And as for the sefiora, her mind her own business, and not meddle in matters which will only serve to make her talked about." Others
"let

the questions put to was the universal her convent, and not

was

to find a suitable house, also to try to get some in order to bring the enterprise to a successful conclusion. Of these

urged that Teresa was very foolish to leave such a comfortable The saint owned that, monastery. humanly speaking, her critics were in the right. But Dona Guiomar, who was less patient and also more exposed, from living in the world, to harsh remarks, had much difficulty in bearing them. Her discourage ment fell upon Teresa, who, falling at our Lord s feet, complained that she did not know what would become of them. "You can now judge, my daughter," our Lord answered her, "what the founders of Orders have had to suffer. You have yet much to suffer, more even than you can imagine but be not disturbed by Our Lord also sent a message through Teresa to Dona Guiomar. The two friends took fresh courage to support the trials in store for them. These were first restricted to mockery, and criticisms in which monks, priests, and laymen all joined. Thus hampered in their inquiries, watched in their smallest actions, they could only proceed with great caution. The first thing
;

it."

moral support and good advice,

Three

things the last two were the hardest to achieve.


1

The

Sec Life by Julian d Avila, Part

II, ch. n.

i8o

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

have helped them, but Dona college of St. Giles would Guiomar hesitated about compromising the Jesuits in the matter. They were poor, also the last comers

among

the

religious

Orders of Avila

it

was

all-

important

for

them not

which the) had by reflection Teresa and her friend had recourse to the Dominican convent, which was the principal one of the town, and the same as that in which the saint s brother, Anthony, had received the habit thirty years previously. But his career had been early cut short it would hardly serve as an introduction to our saint. Nevertheless she asked for an interview with the great theologian of the with convent, Fr. Pedro Ibaf-ez, and presented herself
;

to risk the public confidence degrees gained in the city. After deep

Dona Guiomar
Fr. Ibanez

before him.

was a clever and learned man, a professor He of Salamanca, and a master in the spiritual life. had other merits greater even than his learning, for he had greatly loved, and had laboured generously in the service of his Divine Master. He was nearing the close of his life, and was looked upon not in Avila alone, but throughout his Order, not only as a holy man, but Teresa was also as a shining light in the Church. therefore disposed on both counts to place her utmost
confidence in him.

Dona Guiomar was


their project,

the

first to

speak.

She explained

and the sum she proposed to give to the new Foundation. The saint then gave her reasons for embarking on the scheme, without making any mention of the commands given her by our Lord, or the favours she and lights she had received from Him. For,"
"

I have no wish to regulate my conduct used to say, on such things I wish to act entirely on obedience,
"

and according

to the light of reason


1

and

faith."

Ribcra

Yepcs.

THE ENCOURAGEMENT SHE RECEIVES


This was not the
received
of their
first

181

intimation

Fr.

Ibanez had

design. reached his ears, and he had already conceived an un favourable opinion of it. Teresa s straightforwardness, however, the probity of her views, the wisdom with which she faced her difficulties, as well as her irresis
tible

The town rumours had

charm of language and manner, insensibly won upon the aged ecclesiastic. He asked her if she was Teresa willing to follow his advice in all good faith.
find a father
"Well,
"he

agreed without hesitation, inwardly convinced that she

would
judge.

said,

and a protector in her impartial come back in eight days,

and you

shall receive

my

answer."

friends withdrew full of hope, Dona Guiomar protesting that she would not give up the scheme even if Fr. Ibafiez should condemn it. Teresa, with more

The two

prudence, declared that if he should say that she could not go on with it without offending God, she would at once abandon it. The saint and her friend had no sooner departed than Fr. Ibanez received a message from a man of position in the town who had heard of
the saint s proceedings, and wrote to recommend the father to have nothing to do with her rash designs. Fr. Ibafiez fortunately had a better counsellor than this friend. He studied Teresa s project at the foot of the

tabernacle he examined it carefully, he prayed, and asked for light from above. At the end of the week Teresa returned with her companion, and heard to her great joy that the good father believed that her work was from God, and that he was prepared to support it to the best of his endeavour against all opposition. "The endowment," he told them, "offered by Dofia
;

Guiomar
thing
to

is

quite insufficient, but


to confidence in

we must
Him."

leave

some

God and

The

situation in

which Teresa now found herself

182

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
;

TERESA

she could protected by placed was wholly changed the most influential ecclesiastic in Avila go forward without fear. Other unexpected assistance was offered. Her old friend Francisco de Salcedo, cured of his former
misgivings, returned to her side with all his former devotion, and rejoiced in seconding a work in which the glory of God was so greatly concerned. Gaspar Daza followed his example, and others who began by belonging to the opposition now turned round and Her friends found the house small sided with Teresa.

and unsuited, but our Lord whispered to her, "Take you will see what I will do possession when you can She seemed to be at the end of her for you later A few days more, and she hoped to find difficulties. Alas those days were still herself in her hermitage.
;

on,"

far off.

The storm from without had begun


from within
it

that

is,

in the

Convent

to abate, but of the Incarnation-

increased daily.

The nuns appeared

to

take the
;

and saint s conduct in the light of a personal affront be should that she went far as to desire so they
if not with imprisonment, still with a deten which would prevent her carrying on her tion Others, but in smaller numbers, defended trigues." her and so dissensions were rife in the monastery. One complaint after another was forwarded to the provincial, till the latter, tired of the commotion his permission had raised, withdrew it, after informing Teresa that he did so on account of the insufficiency of the endowment and the opposition which the project had raised. Teresa, without being disconcerted, had recourse to her director, told him of the refusal, and asked him what course he recommended as the most Fr. Baltasar told her to obey, acceptable to God. and to give up all thoughts of carrying out her design.

punished,

"in

OPPOSITION FROM SUPERIORS


"

183

God

knows,"

Teresa

relates,

"with

the affair had been conducted

up

what difficulty to this time, but by

the grace of God, I gave it all up without disquietude and with as much ease and contentment as if it had

Having done everything I could Lord s command, my Divine Master our accomplish could require nothing further from my hands. So I remained in peace at the convent, convinced in my own mind that our plans would be carried out later, though how, or when, I knew not." This holy submission obtained its reward. And thus while the people of Avila thought Teresa was over whelmed with the bitterness of her disappointment, she was full of joy at the thought of having something One to endure in the service of her Divine Master. it came to trial only she found indeed hard to bear I her from her director. expected some comfort from in the midst of these trials," she says, confessor my "but to increase my trouble our Lord permitted that he should write me a severe letter. He told me that the result of all this ought to be that I should look on
cost
to

me

nothing.

"

dream that I ought to start afresh by have ceasing anything to do with it in the future, or even to speak of it any more, seeing the scandal it had He made some further remarks, all of occasioned. them very painful. But our Lord, who never failed me

my

project as a
to

speak of, so frequently consoled and He I need not speak of it here. told me not to distress myself, that I had pleased Him That greatly, and had not sinned in the whole affair. I was to do what my confessor required of me, and be silent on the subject till the time came to resume Teresa, ever obedient and docile as a little child, she even, instantly took up her ordinary way of life with that astonishing self-command of which she had
in all the trials
I

strengthened

me

that

it."

84

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

the secret, forbade herself to utter a word, or give a thought to an enterprise for which she had previously

been willing to make every sacrifice. This silence was not copied by those by whom she was surrounded. Teresa was looked upon with suspicion in the convent, and accused of folly and ingratitude. Nevertheless she took refuge in her cell, and remained there tranquilly and contentedly, finding in the society of our Lord and His angels the peace which was denied her by man s Meanwhile, what had become of Teresa s injustice. the of friends, plans they had made, and the house they had been on the point of purchasing? If she no longer
occupied herself with these concerns, they, unlike her, were bound by no vow of obedience and were at liberty
Fr. Ibafiez accordingly, whilst restraining the to act. too impetuous Dona Guiomar, pointed out that the means of attaining the ends they all had in view was
to obtain a Brief

from

Rome

authorizing the under

taking.

s mother) (the seconded her daughter s proceedings by giving the protection of her name, as well as some pecuniary aid, Don Francisco de Salcedo and to these negotiations. his friend Caspar Daza seconded their efforts. In short, God worked for His daughter, who was giving greater proof of her love for Him by her inactivity than she could have done by all her efforts. Five or six months passed without further develop ments. Occasionally Fr. Ibariez visited our saint, who made no allusion to their great enterprise, but was satisfied with simply consulting him on some subject connected with her spiritual life, or on the meaning of The influence exercised by Teresa s a scriptural text. marvellous sanctity and elevation of soul was such that Fr. Ibanez was led, in consequence of the constant com munications he had with her, to make a fresh start

Dona Guzman

widow Guiomar

SHE LOSES HER CHIEF SUPPORT

185

in the spiritual life. Excellent as the life had been which he had hitherto led, he resolved to devote what was left of it to the pursuit of still greater perfection. Leaving, therefore, his blessing to Teresa, and en couraging words to Dona Guiomar, he announced to both that he was leaving Avila, in order to retire to a remote monastery of his Order, so that he might

give up his
"I

life

to prayer.
"felt

too,"

Teresa says,

his

it was a gain was so much distressed at his de parture our Lord bade me be comforted, for he was Providence brought going under good guidance." him back later when his support was of much use to the new Foundation. Meanwhile Fr. Ibariez s place was taken by one who was equally devoted to Teresa s

because it was a great loss to me, though to hinder him from going. But I knew
to

retirement much, I did nothing

him

for

when

Fr. Denis Vasquez, the rector of St. Giles s, was replaced by Fr. Gaspar de Salazar, and on his
interests.

arrival
Fr.

Teresa received orders from her director, Baltasar Alvarez, to put herself in communica tion with the new rector, and to acquaint him with the
lights and supernatural favours which she was in the habit of receiving in prayer. Our saint had the greatest natural dislike to these manifestations of the

never refused anything to obedience, and The following is the account she gives of her interview with Fr. de Salazar:
soul, but she

therefore submitted to the order.


"When

something

I felt in my soul not what. I do not remember to have felt thus, either before or after, towards I can anyone. not tell what it was, nor do I know of anything with which I could compare it. It was a spiritual joy, and a conviction in my soul that his soul must understand I I

went

into the confessional

know

mine."

86

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
;

TERESA

The
tion
left

saint was not mistaken she drew great consola from her interview with the rector, and the latter

and thoroughly enlightened as These circumstances told in her If Fr. Baltasar had commanded her to give favour. up the Foundation, and had, as Teresa said, led her by such a narrow and rigorous path that he had hardly allowed her soul to breathe," he had not done so on his own initiative. His former superior, pre judiced by unjust reports against the saint, had imposed this manner of dealing with her on his subject, and the humble Jesuit had suffered as much as his penitent 1
4

her much edified, to the views she held.

in carrying out the order. Fr. de Salazar gave both their liberty of action and our Lord, breaking the
;

maintained of late to Teresa on her "Tell her once more to execute them. plans, pressed meditate "to said Blessed our confessor," Lord, your O Lord, how great are Thy to-morrow on those words
silence
*
:

He had

works

2 are exceeding deep (Ps. xci.). The following day the good father saw his last mis giving disappear in the light shed upon him in prayer.
!

Thy thoughts

"

understood the marvels God was prepared to ac and realized that complish by Teresa s feeble hands he was standing face to face with one of those mysteries
;

He

of divine wisdom where faith and humility triumph over human prudence. He answered Teresa the same

day that there was no longer any doubt as to what was God s will, and that consequently she was to take up her work again with courage. The saint s greatest difficulty was the provincial of
1

It is

as well to

draw
1

attention to the fact that Fr. Baltasar

was

at Ihe very beginning of his priestly ministry at this time. He naturally leant on his superior for advice in such an unusual case as that of his

saintly penitent.
-

Ribera

Yepes.

TERESA RESUMES HER UNDERTAKING


the Order
side
;

187

to

renew the

effort to
It

was

to court disaster.

gain him over was agreed to do

to their
all

that

rendered necessary without consulting him. The state of affairs at this time would have dis concerted anyone less energetic than was our saint. Her movements were watched at the Incarnation she was hampered in all her proceedings. Under such circumstances, what could she do? How was it pos sible for her to build a monastery, and to gather
the situation
;

Time, liberty, credit, and were in her case. fortune, wanting beloved Ah, my Master," she cried with her usual loving familiarity, "why do you command me to do impossible things, I who am but a woman and not even a free one? Tied as I am in every way; without or money, knowledge how to procure any what can I do? What am I good for?" Having thus poured forth her anxieties to the Heart of her only Friend, Teresa took courage, counting on His assistance and the future foundress of innumerable monasteries, and
together a community?
all
"

Reformer of a great Order, showed her genius for organization in the measures she took in preparation for her humble commencement. She first wrote to her sister Juana, who had been married some time previously to Don Juan de Ovalle, and asked her and her husband to come to Avila to help her to acquire a house which she had in view. Juan de
her request, bought the he and his wife, who joined him there soon after, took up their abode in it. This enabled Teresa while visiting them to make her But the state plans respecting the future monastery. of Don Juan s purse did not permit of his offering the saint any assistance further than that of his willing
to
in

Ovalle house

at

once acceded

his

own name, and

concurrence, and

it

was necessary before long

to

pay

88

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
"

TERESA

for the contract, as well as a part at least of the price of the property. Our Lord provided for this in a

marvellous manner," the saint records in the history of her Foundations. These marvels which Teresa passes over in silence are worthy of more than a passing remark. One day her dear patron saint and father, St. Joseph, appeared to her and told her to begin the work, for that money would be forthcoming. The saint had not at that moment a farthing to pay the workmen, but a few days later St. Joseph s promise was fulfilled by her
brother.

Lorenzo de Cepeda having seen twenty years service Peru, where he had been in command of one of the king s regiments, was rewarded with the post of In 1556 he treasurer-general of the province of Quito. had married a young heiress of the name of Juana Maria de Fuentes. These temporal successes had failed to harden Lorenzo s heart. He led an exemplary life, and was most generous in his alms, especially to re
in

ligious Orders. Though ignorant of his sister s plans, he conceived the happy idea of sending her a sum of money, which was large enough to enable her at once
to satisfy her
<

workmen and

creditors.
"

I brother," she writes to him, My pray God to reward you for your great charity. It was certainly

dear

through God s inspiration that you sent me so much What you sent me before would have money. abundantly sufficed for all my wants, who, nun as I am, rejoice through God s grace to wear a much mended habit, and have few wants." She then acquaints him in a few words with her great enterprise, and adds: Dona Guiomar helps me much, but she has no money at this moment, and I had nothing wherewith to pay the most urgent expenses. Nevertheless, confiding in
"

TERESA S BROTHER ASSISTS HER

189

God alone, I had arranged with the workmen to go on. To all appearance it was great folly, but our Divine
Master takes up the matter, and inspires you
to
to

come

my

assistance

when

was

at

my

wits

end.

What

astonishes
at all.

me

greatly

you added, and

the forty pieces of gold which without which I could not have got on
is

I believe I owe all this to St. Joseph, to whom our house will be dedicated, and who, I feel sure, will l repay you for your great charity." What a consolation it must have been for our saint to find God making use of different members of her and no doubt family to found her little monastery the thought must have often occurred to her that
;

Don Alonso and Dona Beatriz, united in Heaven, were blessing their children occupied in this holy work. The house which had been bought was so small that
it seemed impossible to turn it into a convent. Teresa, in spite of all her ingenuity, could not find As for the place for a dormitory or recreation-room. it would have been to the chapel, necessary buy adjoin ing cottage in order to make it of suitable dimensions, and for this the permission of the owner, and money were necessary, and neither the one nor the other were

at first

forthcoming. What was to be done? Whilst Teresa was revolving these thoughts in her head, uncertain what to do, her Divine Master said to her: "Have I not told you, my daughter, that you are to enter, and settle yourselves as best you can ? Oh human weak ness, which fears that the ground even should be
!

How often have I not slept in the wanting to you Teresa open air without a roof over My head received this reproach humbly, and returned to the
!
"

little

house.

A
1

fresh examination
Letter of

showed her how

December

3oth, 1561.

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
-1

to manage, and giving instructions to the workmen them to O ret the work done as quickly as she be-o-ed O c3

possible.

Another time St. Clare appeared to Teresa on her feast, and promised to render her all the assistance in her power. 1 Three days later, on the i5th of August, the Blessed Virgin Queen of Mount Carmel showed herself in a vision to Teresa while she was assisting at Mass at St. Thomas s. Here (in the church where she had come to confession to Fr. Vincent Barren after her
father s death), whilst she was lamenting in profound anguish the sins of her past life, Our Lady appeared to
her, and, wrapping a spotless robe over her, told her that all her sins were forgiven. Then taking Teresa s hand in hers, she told her in accents of deep tenderness

that the saint s devotion to St. Joseph had caused her great joy, that her monastery would be completed and

should never lose its first fervour, and that the Holy Family would ever be devoutly loved and served in

presence of St. Joseph, who at St. Teresa s side. appeared Teresa kept these graces secret, but she could not conceal a miracle which was due to her prayers. Her brother-in-law, Juan de Ovalle, in order to oblige her, continued to live, at great inconvenience to himself and his family, in the house in course of construction. Teresa suffered for the sake of her sister, who was about to give birth to a second child. One day Gonzalvo, their little five-year-old son, was playing with the
it.

She

said

this

in

at the

same time

materials collected for the building,


1

when

a piece of

"This promise," Teresa observes, "was faithfully accomplished. convent of her Order close to ours has helped us to live, and what is more important, it has little by little contributed so well to the accom plishment of my wishes, that the same poverty is observed in this house as in hers."

SHE RAISES HER NEPHEW TO LIFE


wall crumbled

191

the top of him, and he lay to the on dead ground. At first he was appearance not missed but when discovered by his father, after an absence of some hours, he was stiff, and ap The unfortunate man, after doing parently lifeless. all he could to restore his son, lifted the little body in his arms, and taking it to Teresa, who was working in
all
;

down on

another part of the house, laid it in her lap his silence and his tears alone revealing what he asked at her hands. Meanwhile a friend of Juana s, who had heard what had happened, was doing her utmost to keep the mother in her o\vn room. But a secret presentiment, or possibly the look of alarm on the faces round her, roused Juana s fear, and resisting her friend s efforts to detain her, she went in search of Teresa, and finding her with Gonzalvo on her lap, she gave vent to her Teresa calmed her with a grief in sobs and tears. gesture, begged of her to wait to be patient and then bowing down her head on the marble face of the little child she covered it with her veil, and without

saying a word to those around, implored the mercy of God on these people who had made such great sacri fices for her and for Him. After a moment of profound silence Teresa lifted her head. Gonzalvo opened his eyes and smiled upon his aunt, and caressed her. Teresa, radiant with joy, put him in his mother s arms. "Dear she said, "be not troubled. sister,"

There is your son, embrace him." Gonzalvo never forgot what he owed to Teresa. When he was older he reminded her that she was bound to pray for him and take an interest in his soul, since he owed his life, under God, to her interces
sion. Her biographer tells us that Teresa, much touched, blessed him, and acknowledging the miracle by her silence, she promised to watch with a mother s

192

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


had been the means of
1

affection over the existence she

prolonging.

Juana s eldest boy had been brought she gave birth to a second son. Teresa begged it might be called Joseph, in honour of her Dear little angel," she said to it beloved protector.

month

after

back to

life

"

I pray God that He will take you to innocence rather than you should live to offend Him." Joseph s holy parents took this their faith differed in no way from prayer calmly Teresa s. The sacrifice of life was a small one to

after its baptism, Himself in your

"

them compared
three weeks.

to that of eternity.

Joseph only lived

Teresa, seeing the child about to give up its innocent soul to its Saviour, took him in her arms and gazed on him long with a look impossible to describe. Juana, looking at her sister with anguish

her heart, wondered what was going to happen. Suddenly the saint s face became transfigured, a beauty such as Juana had never seen before shone out of her She understood all and eyes and lit up her face. when Teresa, coming back to herself, tried to turn away from her, with the child, whom she still held in her arms: "Stay," Juana entreated while weeping softly, "you cannot hide it from me, my little Joseph Teresa s only answer was to embrace is with God." her fondly and then, in order to change the mother s anguish into joy, she confided to her the vision she had "when one realizes the "O seen. Juana," she cried, multitude of angels who come to greet the soul of a
in
;
;

little

themselves

innocent as the angels enters Heaven one can only praise and bless God." Devoted as she was to her family, this affection never and our interfered with our saint s great undertaking Saviour, though he had reproached her in His jealous
child
;

who

Vide Ribcra, Yepes,

Boll.,

No. 310.

FURTHER OBSTACLES
seemed only those bound
ship. Affairs

193

love of her soul for bestowing- her affections, perhaps, in too lavish a manner, on the world outside the
cloister,

to bless those
to

outpourings of her heart on


tie

her by the natural

of close relation

progressed slowly with our saint, not her efforts to hasten them. The necessity for keeping them concealed from the pro vincial also hampered their success and reports again circulated in the town the new Foundation. regarding The evil spirits, opposed to all generous and intrepid souls, likewise redoubled their assaults. Unable to
still

withstanding

all

vanquish the saint s courage and perseverance, they attacked her from another quarter. Accordingly one day the news was brought to Teresa that a great wall had fallen in the night. The saint took the news with her usual serenity. "It will have to be she
rebuilt,"

observed.

anxiously

will require more money," her faithful friend Dona Guiomar.


"That

replied
"The
;

money

will be

forthcoming,"

was Teresa

answer

and

shortly after a messenger arrived confirming her words, and bringing the necessary sum with him.

Ovalle would have insisted on the workmen rebuilding the wall at their own expense but Teresa refused to consent to this. She begged him not to blame the men, for she said it was not due to their carelessness but to diabolical What efforts," agency. she exclaimed, "have btien made Satan to

Juan

cle

"

but in spite of everything it will be carried out." And truly, notwithstanding all the difficulties thrown in the way, the work advanced, and little by little the house assumed the appearance of a monastery. Teresa watched its progress with the utmost interest; she aimed in every detail at the
this
;

work

by

arrest

humility,

copying and poverty of Bethlehem and


;

simplicity,

in

this she

194

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
succeeding.

TERESA
The chapel was
at

had no

difficulty in

last finished, the dormitory was divided into cells, the refectory ready to be used, when Teresa received an order from her superiors which put a stop to all the

works, and appeared to compromise the future of the new Foundation.

CHAPTER

XIII

was understood or her native city, rumours of it began to spread outside its bounds. It was said that a great saint lived in Avila, in a Carmelite monastery, who had received astounding graces from God and

as Teresa s holiness
in

EFTLE appreciated

whose prayers were all-powerful with Him. Saints such as Peter of Alcantara or Francis Borja, learned ecclesiastics, Fr. Ibanez amongst the number, bore testimony to the truth of the report. Teresa alone was ignorant of it. Wrapt in the cloak of humiliation, with which those by whom she was surrounded covered her, she sought only to remain hidden from the world. Her surprise and consternation may therefore be imagined when, on the 24th of December, 1561, a letter from the provincial reached her with the order to start at once for Toledo, and proceed to the palace of the Duchess Luisa de la Cerda, a broken-hearted widow, who had begged for her presence there, and hoped to draw consolation from her society.

The saint was at first much troubled with the summons. How could the duchess have heard of
her existence? Would not her sudden departure be fatal to the success of the new Foundation ? The bell

rang
to

go

for matins, and Teresa cut short her to the choir, to the of

reflections

sing

praises

Him Who

brought peace to men of good will. Soon, wrapt in ecstasy, she heard the well-known

196

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


"

Master speaking to her heart: Go, pay no attention to those daughter," who would you. You will have to suffer on this journey, but your sufferings will glorify Me. It is necessary for the success of our monastery that you should be absent till the Brief arrives. Fear
voice of her
it

said to her; seek to detain

"

I will be with you." Teresa went the next day to her director, the rector of St. Giles, and told him of the order she had received, and likewise what our Lord had said to her. The rector told her that she had no motive for refusing. Strong in this assurance, the saint paid no heed to the lamentations and appeals of her friends; and confiding

not.

the care of the unfinished monastery to her sister and brother-in-law, she set out on the ist of January for Toledo, accompanied by Juan de Ovalle and a nun of
the Convent of the Incarnation.

Two

days

later the little

company beheld

the

im

posing buildings of the Alcazar, with its lofty towers Soon after the town with its rising in the distance.
crenellated walls and ramparts came in sight, and charmed the eyes of the saint, to whom everything beautiful in nature and art appealed irresistibly. They passed over the Tagus, and entering the city by the eastern gate they went straight to the duchess s palace. Juan de Ovalle then returned home, leaving Teresa

with the mourner. Luisa de la Cerda was a sister of the Duke de Medina Celi, and widow of one of the principal grandees of Castile a great lady therefore, but, what was more important, a woman possessed of a great Till the death of her husband, which changed soul. her joys into grief and mourning, her life had been one of unbroken happiness. Like many, therefore, who had never known what it was to suffer, she gave herself
;

LUISA DE LA CERDA
up
to her
efforts

197

Juan, or could serve to many friends, distract her thoughts from her sorrows, or bring her back to a sense of the duties that still remained for her to perform all that she could now see of life was its uncertainty and its speedy termination. Whilst in this state she was told about Teresa, and, as our saint God permitted that she should hear good remarks, of me in order that good should come of Accord all Luisa de la Cerda s were ingly hopes placed on
of her brother, or of her
;
"

anguish without measure or on the part of her young son

restraint.

No

Don

it."

holy soul, who had possibly the secret of consolation to the heart-broken, could do for conveying her. she would tell her with certainty that Perhaps her husband was in Heaven ? Thus (the will of the

what

this

rich and powerful carrying all before it) the duchess addressed herself to the provincial, and obtained from him the favour of Teresa s presence at Toledo. The saint found Dona Luisa in bed exhausted by her She devoted her tears, and refusing to be comforted. self to the task of inspiring her with resignation, and of leading this uncontrollable anguish into a Christian channel, and succeeded so well that before long the duchess consented to rise and take nourishment.

We

are

great sacrifice, accepted her bereavement from God s Hands, the duchess devoted the rest of her days to good works. She insisted, however, on keeping Teresa long enough to be directed by her in her new way of life, and sur rounded her with proofs of her esteem and affection, many of which, the saint tells us, were u a cross and
a
"

told

that

having made

the

and

trial

to her.
!

Alas for Teresa At the moment when all her desires were placed on imitating the poverty of Bethle hem, she was called upon to live in a palace, and to be

98

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

waited on by servants who were obliged to emulate their mistress s devotion in their behaviour to her. She submitted to everything, and perhaps studied this unknown world with a certain interest before giving detect a gentle irony with regard it up for ever. led lives the to by these great people, mixed with

We

much compassion
of her life. she says
;
"

for them, in the record of this part

kept my soul continually recollected," did not dare to be careless, nor was our Lord careless of me. For whilst I was there He be stowed the greatest graces on me, and those graces me such liberty of spirit that it filled me with
I
"

gave contempt for all tages from this.

derived very great advan is of little worth, and the higher it is, the greater the anxiety and trouble it People must be careful of the dignity of brings. their state, which will not suffer them to live at ease.
I

saw.

saw that rank

They must

thing must be according

eat at fixed hours, and by rule, for every to their state and not ac
;

cording to their constitutions and they have frequently to take food fitted more for their state than for their
liking.

lady had may be slight very good servants, with more conversed them must not be in One put than another, otherwise he who is so favoured is envied by the rest. This is of itself a slavery, and it

Then
!

as to servants,

though

this

how

is

the trust that

is

one of the

lies

of the world that

it

calls

such persons

master,
slaves."

who
1

in

rny eyes are in a thousand

ways but

This great world, which was powerless to dazzle our saint, felt deeply the ascendancy of her character and
of

her holiness.

So
to
in
1

attractive

was
secret.

her piety that

everyone wished girls brought up

share
ell.

its

the palace,
Lift
,

The young Dona Luisa s friends,

XXXIV.

TERESA AT THE PALACE


crowded round
her,

199

questions of her.

seeking- her advice and asking Teresa had wise counsels for all.

She spoke
glory of
families,

to

the

great

ladies

of

working

for

the

God by
and by

fidelity to

their duties as heads of

girls she told to

their charity to the poor. The young obey their parents as they would our
if

adorn themselves,

their parents wished them to do so with simplicity, with the intention of pleasing God by their submission. 1 Maria de Salazar, a relation of the Duchess de la Cerda s, who eclipsed all her companions by her brilliancy and charm, met with a different treatment from the saint. Teresa, seeing her robed in silks and satins, gently This finery is unsuitable for reproached her, saying: one who would willingly, were it possible, assume the habit of a nun." Maria was astounded at finding that the saint had discovered a secret she had disclosed to none. She was twenty at this time, with the world at her feet, and to all appearance not insensible to its But the death of Don Aries, cut off in the pleasures. prime of life a death which had plunged his family into anguish and mourning had made a profound impression on her. She asked herself of what benefit was a happiness which might crumble away at any moment, leaving nothing behind it. And whilst the poor Dona Luisa was weighed down almost to the grave by her sorrows, Maria, calm in appearance, was no less struck by the sudden blow, and was seeking to
to
"

Lord Himself, and

replace her lost illusions by the solid realities of God s service. Providence having betrayed Maria s secret to she Teresa, gladly owned to the disgust she experienced of the world, and her desire for the cloister. Teresa

received these confidences with maternal

and began
1

at

once to train her spiritual daughter


St. Teresa,

tenderness, to the

Ribera, Life of

Book IV,

ch. v.

200

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

practice of those virtues which she most desired to see in the members of her future community. She was

delighted with Maria s excellent judgment, and looked upon her journey to Toledo as a fortunate one, if for no other cause than that she should thereby have

become acquainted with this generous soul, whom she foresaw would be so well fitted to carry out her designs. Maria de la Salazar bore little resemblance to the saint in her outward manner, which was calm and reserved. But she resembled her through her brightness and
and by what Teresa esteemed at a much higher value, her humility, sweetness, and strength
intelligence,

of character.

stay at Toledo was prolonged beyond her expectation, the provincial ceding to Dona Luisa de la Cerda s earnest desires to retain the saint beside her. She divided her time whilst in that city
s

Teresa

between her duties to society, prayer, and an under taking she had commenced the previous year in obedience to an order of Fr. Ibafiez. This was a history of her spiritual life, a work for which the Church has owed her a debt of gratitude for more than four centuries. This task had been a great trial to her, and in sending it to Fr. Ibanez she writes: I am much to some idea I of what have tempted give you gone through for your sake in writing the history of my life. I feel I have a right to do it after all I have suffered in
"

seeing myself thus described, and in recalling to

my

But side by side with these sufferings there was the joy and consolation of For our glorifying her beloved Lord and Master. saint s history of her life meant little of her speaking self and much about God. To Him she incessantly

memory

so

many

miseries."

returns

to

Him

avowal of her

faults

she addresses herself in the touching and her repentance. Her Life

THE DIARY
;

201

is but a long outpouring on the bosom of her Saviour. She does not so much write as pray she loves, and she sings. She sings, like Mary, of her littleness, and

of the greatness of God she sings through her tears. But above all she sings of the incomprehensible good ness and tenderness of the King, the Master, the
;

Friend, of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Dominated by such exalted inspiration, she was indifferent to the form taken by her literary labours. They were written under obedience, in order to render an account of the state of her soul, her infidelities to grace, and the unspeakable mercies of God in her
regard. Accordingly there is no anxiety to express her thoughts properly, no method used in putting the story together but on the other hand there is a delightful simplicity about the book, the charm of a natural and unstudied style, an absolute spontaneity, which render it deeply attractive. The pages are living
;

and in reading them one seems to see her and to hear her voice. Sublime and yet most simple, a poet without wishing to be one, eloquent without being con scious of her power, she enchants and carries the reader away with her to those lofty regions where her soul She convinces the reader of the habitually dwells. truth of what she urges, less by her arguments than by the inimitable accents of sincerity and truth which animate them. Teresa s stay at Toledo was marked by another
ones,

providential occurrence.

Whilst she was

there, a

nun

who was a stranger to her, of the name of Mother Mary of Jesus, asked for an interview with her. Mother Mary was a widow of good family, who, after
her husband s death, had become a Carmelite nun, and by a singular coincidence had been inspired to found a Reformed convent of the Order in the same

202

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

year and month that Teresa had conceived a similar


idea.

Mother Mary had larger resources at her disposal saint, but she was less well endowed by nature and education. In spite of these drawbacks, she had so thoroughly mastered the primitive Rule of Mount Carmel that she was an authority upon it, down to its minutest details. She had received permission from her superior at Granada to leave her convent and
than our

approving of her and having succeeded (after a journey of great hardships) in obtaining it from Paul IV, she had just returned to Spain. Then, hearing of Teresa s she had come to to confer with her on Toledo designs, this subject. The duchess gave hospitality to Mother Mary, so that the two foundresses were able, for the

go

to

Rome

to obtain a papal Brief

Foundation

space of a fortnight, to hold converse together. Teresa studied deeply the diploma and Brief given by the

Holy See,

as well as the procedure necessary for the


;

other useful information. But these details were not the principal Teresa loved above subjects of their conversations. all to talk of the spirit of recollection, poverty, and in which she that desired these beloved soli penance tudes should be steeped. She confided in her newlyfound friend the kind of perfection, austere yet sweet and attractive, which she dreamed of as the distinguish ing mark of the little group of elect souls whom she
to draw round her. Mother Mary had also her plans, but her spirit was not so wide and farseeing as that of our saint. The spirit of penance dominated her too exclusively. Teresa noticed this in order to draw subject of edification from it, and she

erection of a monastery of the Reform Mary was able likewise to give her

and Mother

hoped

made

thought herself unworthy of intercourse with one so

DIVINE FAVOURS
mortified
to carry their plans into execution,

203

and detached. When, however, the time came we shall see which of these two best understood the human heart, and God s designs upon it, and above all that happy medium which is the test of solid virtue. For in order that Mother Mary s work should take root, it was necessary later on for Teresa to intervene and repress the generous but imprudent direction taken by her Reform, and com municate to it the holy liberty characteristic of the
spirit of

Carmel.

of the two Mothers was therefore a blessed one, for both one and the other. They parted with a mutual promise to pray for each other, and Mother Mary of Jesus pursued her way to Madrid, where she hoped to enlist the help of the Nuncio on

The meeting

her side against the opposition raised by the Order an opposition which was not overcome till after a year

and difficulty. Meanwhile Teresa continued her apostolic work in the society of Toledo whilst waiting for permission
of trial

from the provincial to return to her convent. The time had passed when contact with the world would have been a source of dissipation to Teresa. At this period it w ould seem, rather, to have been a time of special Obedience had taken her from her grace and favour. convent to the palace, and accordingly her Divine Master had Himself accompanied her there, and amidst
T

these gilded chambers, as in her oratory at home, He spoke to her soul and ravished her to Himself. Teresa took the utmost care to conceal these divine favours

from those who surrounded


these

good people was not

her, but the curiosity of to be denied they con


;

tinually surprised her in ecstasy, her face transfigured with a supernatural joy, her eyes streaming with tears
of love

and devotion.

All in the house, from

first to

204
last,

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

in trouble or difficulty.

vied in honouring her and in applying to her when On one occasion a member of

who had been suffering for a long time from violent pains in the head and ears threw herself at her feet, and implored her to make a sign of the cross on the place from whence her suffering came. What are Teresa quietly moved her aside, and said
the household
"

you thinking of!


cross, not in the

Go and make
for the

yourself on the place,

a sign of the cross the sign of the good


lies in
it."

But in gently hand which makes the woman s her Teresa hand touched s away pushing and cured. she was head, instantaneously The saint s influence was not exercised on the in mates of the palace alone. It will be remembered that she made acquaintance with a Dominican father who

was attending Don Alonso on his deathbed, and had had recourse to him afterwards, herself, in order that he might help her on the road to Heaven. Fr. Vincent Barron had left Avila many years before, and Teresa had never seen him since, but she could not forget what she owed to him. For it was due to him that she had resumed the practice of prayer, had begun to com municate more frequently, in other words, had been
brought back to the path of perfection. Providence so disposed matters that the religious and our saint should have the consolation of meeting, by bringing Fr. Vincent to Toledo whilst Teresa was staying there.

The Dominican convent adjoined the duchess s palace, and the saint frequently assisted at Mass there. Great was her emotion one day when she saw her former
was
director kneeling before the altar. to get up and speak to him.
"considering

Her
"

first instinct

my

But," she relates, within myself that I might only be losing time in mixing in the matter, I sat down again.

FATHER VINCENT
I

205

did this three times before

could

make up my mind.

my good angel triumphed, and I sent for the and he came and met me in the confessional." 1 father, The meeting was a source of consolation to both. Fr. Barren had reason to thank God that he had been chosen to interpret the Divine Will to our saint. She, on the other hand, rejoiced in the holy dispositions she
Finally

Nevertheless our saint, divinely perceived in him. made aware that something was yet was enlightened, the of his spiritual life. What to perfection wanting it was we are not told. know that he was an ex cellent man, but Teresa wished to make a saint and a great saint of him and saints are rare. Directly she left him she set to work to pray, and with that ardent love of souls and confidence in God which was her strongest characteristic, she cried Lord, grant me I know this favour. you will not refuse it to me. Con sider how meet his soul is for perfect friendship with

We

"

Thee and

granted in full. He, she wished to see perfect, set out with fresh fervour on the "narrow and in a short time he had, by dint of austerity, path," recollection, and prayer, accomplished marvels such as Her ardent prayers had filled Teresa s soul with joy. gained one chosen friend more for her beloved Master, and for the Dominican Order a shining light. Teresa had many revelations with regard to Fr. Barren s growth in sanctity. On one occasion our Lord showed him to her in a vision surrounded with a brilliant light and borne by angels, and she was told that at the moment when she had the vision he was going through some great trials which he endured not only with patience, but with joy. She said of him on another occasion that she saw him on fire with the love of God."
me."

whom

she

knew

Her petition was to be holy but

whom

"

Boll.,

No. 317.

206

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

Even more grateful, more enchanted at the favours Heaven had bestowed on him than at those accorded
to herself, she never ceased thanking God for having heard her prayers and given the Church such a faithful "O servant. my adorable Saviour," she said on one

occasion, speaking of the holy Dominican s great zeal, how powerful is the influence exercised by a soul
"

which is entirely possessed by love of Thee This was indeed a thought which occurred to all those who came within the sphere of Teresa s influence. Her mission at Toledo was soon to be completed but though she was in her element in apostolic work wherever she went, she did not forget that the mission her Divine Master had given to her lay elsewhere. The Foundation at Avila was therefore the first object both An opportunity of her thoughts and of her prayers. of conferring once more with St. Peter of Alcantara on
"

the subject

was given her

at the palace whilst able to consult him

at Toledo. He came to stay Teresa was there, and she was on a point which up to that time

had escaped her notice. Mother Mary of Jesus had drawn her attention to the fact that according to the primitive Rule no monasteries were endowed. and though was not aware of this, our saint remarks I had frequently read our constitutions, I never noticed this till I was told of it by Mother Mary, who could not herself read at Strong in these two prin that one the Rule forbade endowment, and the ciples other that it was more perfect to dispense with it,
"I
"

l i

all."

resolved to start her Foundation without But here she met with opposition from of her friends everyone Jesuits, Dominicans, every

Teresa

revenue.

theologian with one accord brought arguments, which she found unanswerable, against her. She laid this difficulty before St. Peter, but he was too great a lover

AFFAIRS AT AVILA

207

of poverty to turn her from the strict Observance, and he used all his powers of persuasion to recall her to the
ideal of destitution as exemplified in the Cradle and in the Cross. Teresa, satisfied with this decision, no

longer sought to argue the matter with her other advisers, and before long they came round to her Our Lord Himself confirmed her in it opinion. is My Father s will, and Daughter," He said, Mine, that you found your monastery without endow ment. I will take charge of your affairs." All this time Teresa was kept in ignorance as to how long her sojourn at Toledo was to be prolonged. Dona Luisa became every day more attached to her friend,
:
"

"it

and the saint s society became more indispensable to her and still the provincial made no sign of with drawing his order. Meanwhile there was great dis
;

couragement
sister s

at Avila.

Juana, tired of waiting for her

return, had gone home to Alba de Tonnes. de Ovalle, left guardian of the little installation Juan at St. Joseph s, was uncertain what to do next, and impatient to join his wife. At last he determined to go to Toledo to consult Teresa. Her advice was that he had better return to Alba. It was necessary for to back to Avila to make various first him, however, go On St. arrangements. Joseph s he was reaching

attacked with high fever, so that all further journey was out of the question. He was laid up accordingly in the unfinished monastery, where he was deprived of

help from his relations, neither his wife nor Teresa being informed of the state he was in. About the middle of June, a week after de Ovalle s visit to Toledo, Teresa at last received a letter from the pro vincial, in which he revoked his previous order, and left her free to prolong her stay with Dona Luisa, or to return to the Convent of the Incarnation. This was
all

208
a tactful

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


way
of himself escaping the difficulty of dis by throwing the responsibility of

tressing the duchess, doing so on Teresa.


that

No

stone was

left

unturned by

To great lady to retain her friend near her. Teresa also the parting was not without a pang, as she had conceived a real affection for that generous and
affectionate

soul

whom

she had been the means of


little

turning

to

God.

She had been


duchess with a

in inspiring the

successful, however, of her own spirit

of self-abnegation, and after speaking to her in the language of faith of the interests of God s glory which

were involved

in her departure, she at last persuaded her friend to consent to it. There had been a moment when Teresa had almost been tempted to delay it. She had received a letter from the Incarnation telling her that the time of the election was approaching, and

that several of the

nuns were inclined


;

to vote for her

appointment

to the office of prioress.

dered at the thought have been preferable.


of being at the

saint shud any form of martyrdom would She dreaded less the prospect

The

head of a large community, many of whose numbers were strongly opposed to her, than the great responsibility attached to the position, and the increased difficulties it would put in the way of the new Foundation. She hoped to avoid the danger by re maining at Toledo till after the new prioress s election. Our Lord reproved her for these fears, and pressed
her to go.
to her.
"

Do not wait a moment longer," He said You desire crosses you will meet with one
"

you will find hard to bear but fear not, I will help you to bear Our saint wept on hearing these words she thought the cross our Lord spoke of was her appointment to
;

there which

it."

at

the office of prioress; but ever submissive, she prepared once to depart. The heat, great at all times in June,

TERESA S FRIENDS
was
at

209
in

that

moment overpowering, and


it

Teresa

delicate state of health

attempt the journey. But Teresa felt delay. Will she succeeded in
;

seemed almost madness to Her confessor recommended she was resisting the Divine
getting
his

and tearing herself away from her kind friends at Toledo, she started on the road to Avila. The fatigues and heat of the journey were the least part of her trials. She could not rest from thinking of the great cross our Lord predicted for her. saw," she remarks in her Life, that I was about to throw
depart,
"I
"

permission to

myself
for the

in the fire

but

moment

to

come when

started full of joy, impatient


I

should be launched
to see

combat in which my Master wished engaged, and for which He had given such
into the

me

my

strength to

feebleness."

the little newly monastery Joseph on her way to the convent. There she found to her surprise Juan de Ovalle laid up with fever, and much in need of her assistance. Her duty of obedience obliged her to return at once to the Incarnation; but she left her
visit to

Arrived

at Avila,

she paid a

built

of St.

to

brother-in-law with the promise that she would return him the moment she got leave to do so.

Avila at that moment had some of Teresa s greatest friends assembled within its walls. St. Peter of Alcan tara was there with
staying

Francisco de Salcedo

Caspar Daza, the rector of St. Giles, and another holy prelate, Gonzales de Aranda, were in the town. Also Mgr. Alvaro de Mendoza, Bishop of Avila, who, acquainted by Peter of Alcantara with Teresa s enter
took a friendly interest in our saint, though he his consent to the Foundation. News reached Teresa directly she got back which filled her with joy, besides explaining to her the reason
prise,

had not yet given

210

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


our Lord had laid so

why

much

stress

on the necessity
it

of her speedy return to her convent. Brief from Rome had at last arrived

The long awaited


;

was dated the

6th of January, 1562, and authorized the establishment This Brief, 1 which of the monastery of St. Joseph.

was addressed to Dona Guiomar and her mother Dona Alonso Guzman, gave them permission to found a house of Carmelite nuns of the primitive Rule, which was to be provided with chapel, bell, cloisters, and cells, and was to be under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop, and to enjoy the rights, exemptions, and privileges accorded to all the monasteries of the It was accompanied with a threat to all who Order. Cardinal Farnese, Grand should trouble its peace. the prior of the Convent of Penitentiary, charged of the Archdeacon Segovia, and the grand Magacela, in the name and at the cathedral of Toledo, chaplain
by the authority of Pope Pius IV, to carry out these The name of Teresa did not orders of the Holy See. a simple nun, a member authorization in the appear still of the community of the Incarnation and still under the orders of the superior of that monastery, it was impossible for her to figure personally in any Dona Guiomar and her document of this nature. mother took all the responsibility of the new departure. There was now no time to be lost. Providence, to
;

the joy and consolation of Teresa

s friends,

had brought
of the chief

together at this critical

moment every one

supporters of her great work. At a private meeting, presided over by St. Peter of Alcantara, it was decided
that the
first step taken should be that of trying to gain The saint the consent of Mgr. Alvaro de Mendoza. was himself too ill to leave his room, but he sent two

messengers

to the prelate to speak in his behalf. 1 Boll, No. 334.

They

ST.

PETER OF ALCANTARA

211

returned without succeeding in their mission. The had not understood that the Foundation was bishop to be made without endowment as soon as he heard that this was the case he refused his sanction. As soon as the son of St. Francis had heard the
;

"If God permits that receive this rebuff, it is only for our ultimate And so saying he rose from his bed to advantage."

bishop

answer, he only said:

we should

go to Mgr. Alvarez, but his legs were so weak they refused to support him, and he, who in all his constant journeyings through Spain and Italy had never ridden or driven, had to make use of a saddle-mule to take him into the bishop s presence. When the latter saw the holy man arrive he was moved. He could
refuse nothing to the saint cause.
:

deeply Teresa had gained her

It was no slight duty that the bishop had taken upon himself in consenting to the Foundation and taking it under his own jurisdiction. It meant that he declared himself father and superior of the little community, with the obligation of defending it against evil reports and the displeasure of the Order of Mount Carmel,
it was withdrawn. If the influence of the saintly Franciscan was decisive, the eminent piety of the excellent prelate had its share in a decision in which the glory of God was so greatly involved. From that day he ever showed the love and devotion of a father for the community of St. Joseph,

from whose jurisdiction

and in particular for its foundress. Teresa, on the other hand, profited by his benevolent dispositions by enlisting them in the service of others much more than she did in protecting her own interests. St. Peter of
Alcantara was only a few days at Avila. He left soon His life of penance and selfafter, never to return. sacrifice was about to receive its everlasting reward.

212
"

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
"

as if God had would appear," St. Teresa tells us, him alive our finish to undertaking, for he kept only had been very ill for more than two years, and he was
It

almost immediately afterwards. He did all he could for us, and without his counsels and his help I do not know how the work could have been done."
to die

The hand of the holy old man had placed the last stone on the edifice which all three of the great Orders The children of the Church had assisted in erecting. of St. Ignatius had dug its foundations, and the sons
of St. Dominic had protected its early beginnings and now the zeal and charity of St. Francis was to crown the holy work. Teresa delighted to efface her self in the presence of her benefactors, giving them all the credit for what she herself had accomplished.
;

Thus

of founders

history, she multiplies names and foundresses, and protectors of the Carmel Reform. Yet notwithstanding her efforts she
in her delightful
;

the ascendancy of her genius, the deceives no one If she her of power sanctity asserts itself everywhere. is able to gain advocates in the most unexpected quarters, and to conciliate even her adversaries, turn

ing them into devoted friends, these were in truth but resources of which she made use, without her per
sonal influence being thereby in the smallest degree diminished. St. Peter of Alcantara visited the new Carmel before
It was unfinished, but it was already leaving Avila. easy to see that the only beauty to which the building could lay claim was its simplicity. The saint who worshipped his "lady Poverty" rejoiced at the sight of it. "This in truth," he said, a house of St. 1 Joseph, and another grotto of Bethlehem." Teresa, having received permission to nurse de
"is
1

Vincente dc

la

Fuente.

A GROTTO OF BETHLEHEM

213

Ovalle, was able to watch the finishing strokes of the workmen. had much trouble at this time," she says,
"I

"in

persuading this person, or that, to allow the Foundation. I had to nurse the sick man, and to hasten the work

men in their preparation of the house, so that it might have the form of a monastery. I saw that everything depended on haste for many reasons, one of which was that I was afraid that I might be ordered back to my monastery at any moment. I was troubled by so many things that I suspected my cross had been sent me, though it seemed but a light one in comparison with that which I understood our Lord meant me to
carry."

The election came off at the Incarnation shortly afterwards, without bringing about the results feared
by our saint. This gave her more breathing space, and occasions were not wanting to satisfy her love of crosses. July passed amidst much anxiety and fatigue,
absence adding a great deal to her were conducted in the strictest secrecy, for, as Teresa said, a word would have been sufficient to ruin everything. Juan de Ovalle s illness, fortunately, was sufficient pretext to account for Teresa s The very presence in the house purchased by him.
s

Dona Guiomar

labours.

Affairs

day when the workmen left it his fever left him, and on rising from his bed of sickness he thanked his kind Now that it is nurse, and said to her with a smile no longer necessary for me to be ill here, I am quite
"

cured!"

her

Accordingly he left the saint to make all own arrangements in the new monastery, and moved to lodgings in the neighbourhood. All that was seen Everything was now finished.
1

from

the

exterior

were
1

solid,
Ribera.

thick,

well-cemented

214

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
vestibule,

TERESA

windows. Inside there this two low doors, an image of Our Lady over the one which gave access to the chapel, and one of St. Joseph over the other which opened into the convent. The interior was in
walls, irregularly pierced with

was a narrow

beyond

the rest the chapel was a plain hall, and suitable, but without any decoration. Another much smaller room served as a nuns choir a large aperture, protected by a double grille and cur tain, pierced the wall which separated the choir from It the chapel. was here, wrapt in impenetrable shadow, that the saint and her companions came to adore and to sing the praises of their beloved Lord and Master, hidden from every eye. Teresa was now

harmony with
clean

Her childhood s dreams, the aspira perfectly happy. tions of her youth, the longings of her riper years were realized when she was able to bury herself in her
alone with Him. Where and who were the chosen souls who were to join her in this retreat, and share her sacrifices and self-immolations with her? Was Juana Suarez, her faithful friend, to be one? or her high-spirited niece, Maria de Ocampo? or Maria de Salazar, her latest recruit from Toledo? It was to be none of these. The first-named, at the age of fifty, found it impossible to break with the habits of a lifetime she was to die peacefully and happily at the Convent of the Incarna It was necessary that the vocations of the two tion. Marias should take time to mature before they could gain permission to follow our saint. Maria de Ocampo was too young for her aunt to wish to expose her to the austerities and difficulties inseparable from a first Foundation. Also, in spite of the thousand ducats which she had so generously contributed to the build ing of St. Joseph s, and the vision by which it had
little

hermitage and

live

sola

cum

solo

FOUNDATION STONES OF
;

ST.

JOSEPH

S 215

been rewarded, 1 Maria hesitated the world still offered her much attraction, she was tried by temptations against faith, and by a desolation of spirit which made prayer a veritable weariness in the flesh to her. On one occasion she was kneeling with her school com

panions

at the Convent of the Incarnation, trying in vain to pray, when Teresa approached and gave her a Maria passage in the Following of Christ to read. at the then a careless glance gave page, suddenly her mind took in the meaning, and the words placed before her eyes seemed to pierce the veil of darkness which

She enveloped her, and to let in Heaven s light. renewed her resolution to give up all and become a Carmelite, and hurried to thank her aunt for the help she had given her. Teresa encouraged and blessed her, but she took the wise part of putting her vocation
to

some months trial before accepting her. In place of taking these much-loved friends, whose company perhaps would have been too great a joy to her, Teresa took four postulants providentiallychosen for her,

who were worthy

of being the foundation stones of the reformed monastery of St. Joseph. This is what the saint says of them felt as if I \vere in bliss when I saw the most Holy Sacrament reserved, and found myself with four poor orphans (for they were taken without dowry), great servants of God, established in the house. It was our aim from the beginning to receive only those who by their example might be the foundation on which we could build up what we had in view great perfection and prayer and effect a work which would be greatly to the glory of God and to the honour of the habit of His most Blessed
:

"I

Mother."
1

Vide Mother

Mary

Baptist s Declaration, History of the Order of

Mount CarmeL

216

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Antonia de Henao, one of these privileged women, was a connection of Teresa s, though she had been
almost unacquainted with her till St. Peter of Alcantara had brought Antonia before her notice. She had been under St. Peter s direction for some years, and had been prevented by him from seeking a monastery of strict Observance outside Avila, as he had assured her if she waited she would find what she sought, in time, in that she Antonia was twenty-seven years of age city. and the a frankness well-balanced mind, possessed
;

simplicity

of a child, and solid piety. These sufficient reasons for Teresa to receive her with

were

open

arms.
lant to

Dona Guiomar and Caspar Daza each had a postu recommend to our saint. Dona Guiomar had

brought up a child out of charity, whose parents, though birth, had lost everything they possessed. Maria de Paz passed a hidden life in her benefactress s house. She was everybody s servant, and she spent her time in prayers and good works. Her great obtained favours from our Lord, and humility many Teresa rejoiced in giving her the habit of Mount Carmel. Ursula de Revilla, Fr. Gaspar s penitent, had begun
of noble
life

had small indulgence

with a taste for worldly pleasures. Her director for these weaknesses in a soul

when he perceived in it an attraction to higher things. The young girl humbled herself under his hands, and in
time she changed her
life altogether for one of great which obtained for her the grace to self-abnegation, embrace the austerities of the Reform. The fourth postulant was a sister of Fr. Julian d Avila, a disciple of Fr. Gaspar Daza s. This was another Maria, a simple and pure maiden resembling her namesake, Maria de Paz. Teresa gave her the name of

CLOTHING OF THE FIRST NOVICES


Cross.

217

Maria of St. Joseph. Maria de Paz became Maria of the Antonia became Antonia of the Holy Ghost, and Ursula kept the name chosen for her by the piety of her parents, Ursula of the Saints. This renunciation of family names was new in the Order of Mount Carrnel. Teresa desired by renaming her postulants to efface every distinction of rank and title, in order to emphasize what in her sight was their sole distinction,

She them new names, celes tial and symbolic names borrowed from the saints or angels, or from the divine mysteries, to let them perceive that for them a purely human life had concluded, and another almost wholly divine had
that of being

mystic spouses of Jesus Christ.

therefore intended, by giving

begun.
the Feast of St. Bartholomew, the 24th of August, Antonia, Ursula, and the two Marias arrived one after
s. Teresa welcomed them with a mother s tenderness, and led them to the chapel where they were joined by Don Francisco de Salcedo, Fr. Julian of Avila, Gonzales de Aranda, and Juan de Ovalle and his wife, who had returned from Alba in order to be present on this great occasion. Teresa s cousins, Inez and Anna de Tapia, professed nuns of the Convent of the Incarnation, were also able to assist at the execution of a project which they had known of and encouraged from the first. Fr. Daza, delegated by the Bishop of Avila, said Mass, and deposited the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. He then blessed the religious habits, and our saint invested her daughters in them. They consisted of a rough stuff dress, a

On

another at St. Joseph

scapular of the same material, a head-dress of coarse linen, a cloak of white wool, and, for the postulants, a white linen veil, till they could assume the black one

proper to the professed.

The

assistants chanted

theTe

218

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


the
little

rang loudly, and the the before novices, altar, bedewed the happy prostrate stone floor with tears of joy and gratitude. The saint, rapt in God her Saviour, seemed to belong

Deum,

monastery

bell

no longer to this earth. Her little house had become s House. Jesus possessed another resting place, where pure and fervent souls, withdrawn from the dangers of the world, would have henceforth no occupation save that of praising, serving, and adoring Him. St. Joseph, her beloved protector, would be honoured with special devotion in this chapel dedi cated to him. All these consolations inundated the heart of Teresa with a joy which seemed to be the precursor of the bliss and glory of Heaven. Con cealed beneath her veil, she poured out her soul to God in prayer. This moment of almost paradisaical happiness was not to last long, and it was to be followed very shortly, according to the almost invariable conduct of her Divine Master towards His spouse, by a great

God

tribulation.
1

This

bell,

poverty Order.
to

in
It

which only weighed three pounds, represented religious such perfection that it was kept as a precious relic in the was taken to Pastrana, and used there at the Convocations,
in

remind the heads of Chapter of the holy poverty

which the Reform

was founded.

CHAPTER XIV
the

Teresa and her Teresa their solitude. of the to enjoyment daughters could hardly tear herself away from her little chapel. Prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament, she tasted something of the joys of Heaven in seeing her Saviour consecrating by His presence the newly-made Founda tion and the four dowerless orphans, who though obscure from the world s point of view, were so pleasing to Him, and who had been first admitted to
retired, leaving-

and his assistants A^TER

morning

ceremony was over,

Fr.

Daza

the honour and privilege of embracing the Rule of Carmel in all its perfection. Teresa, in speaking of It was also this day, says with her usual simplicity a great consolation to me that I had done that which
"

there

our Lord had so often commanded me to do, and that was one church more in this city dedicated to my 1 I always looked upon it as glorious father St. Joseph. the work of our Lord. My part in it was so full of imperfections that I looked upon myself rather as a person in fault than as one to whom any thanks were
due.

But it was a great joy to me when I saw His Majesty make use of me, who am so worthless, in so grand a work. I was therefore in great joy, so much so that I was as it were beside myself, lost in prayer."
1

The sous
Joseph,

of

Carmei brought with them from Palestine the


the

cult of

St.

glory of propagating" it belongs to Teresa. Churches were very rarely dedicated to that saint before the Reform was inaugurated- (Boll., No. 344.)
but

219

220

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


exalts

But God Almighty, who

and then humbles,

enriches and subsequently reduces to poverty, per mitted that an extraordinary change should come over the soul of our saint. All the doors whence she could draw consolation appeared suddenly closed, and instead
of

them one opened from whence an agonizing

recol

lection of the past, and painful anxiety for the future, came forth to disturb her soul. This terrible attack

which, as Teresa

tells us,

the Evil

One made upon

her,

began three or four hours after Mass. Satan suggested to her the one terror which had power to make her
that of having founded her monastery without her superiors consent. The commands she had re ceived from Heaven, her director s sanction, the encouragement of St. Peter of Alcantara, and of so many other eminent and holy souls, the Brief from the Holy See, everything seemed to be, as she says herself, so completely blotted out from her memory it was just as if they had never existed. Other terrors suggested themselves to her. How would these young

quail

delicately brought up, be able to lead a life of austerity such as the one she had persuaded them to
girls,

How would they be able to stand the strict ness of the enclosure ? Shall I even, she said to herself, be able to provide the necessaries of life for them, their daily bread? Perhaps after all the undertaking was a piece of folly. "The devil would have me ask
embrace?
myself"

of shutting myself

when
I

(we quote from her Life) "how I could think up in a house of strict Observance was subject to so many infirmities? how could

bear so penitential a life, or leave the large and pleasant house where I had always been so happy, and where I had so many friends? I had taken on

myself a heavy responsibility, and might possibly end Here indeed there was every sign of in despair."

SATAN
diabolical
"

ATTACK ON THE SAINT


Who
!

221

Oh,
is

my

God,"

temptation, with its lies and darkness. was she says, turning to Him
"how

her sole consolation,

wretched
I

is

this life

No

do not think I Only joy lasting. would have exchanged my joy with any man s on earth, and now I know not what to do with myself.
a

moment ago

Oh,
our

if

life,

we did but consider carefully the events how little we should make of its pains
!

of

or

I believe, one of the most dis ever passed in my life. But our Lord would not allow His poor servant to suffer long (for in all my troubles He never failed to succour me). He gave me a little light so that I might see it was the work of the devil. Then I began to call to mind my great resolutions to serve our Lord, and my desire to suffer for His sake. What was I, then, afraid of? If I

pleasures

This was,
I

tressing

moments

had them now." 1 With a great effort at self-command Teresa took courage once more, and promised in front of the tabernacle that she would leave no stone unturned to obtain permission from her superiors to shut herself up in her new monastery. As soon as she had made
longed for tribulations,
I

this

promise the temptation suddenly left her. she says, "that our Lord suffered me to be thus tempted that I might understand how great a mercy He had shown me herein, and from what torment He had delivered me, and that if I saw any one in like trouble I might not be alarmed at it, but have pity on her, and be able to console her."
"I

believe,"

These

interior trials of the


to the

saint

seemed

to be a

prelude break over the

storm from without which was about to


little

community
monastery
1

of St. Joseph.

The

tinkle of the

bell

had announced the

opening of the

new Foundation
Life, ch. xxxvi.

to the inhabitants of

222

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Avila from earliest dawn, and it was at first hailed by the good and simple folk, in whose hearts Castilian faith still reigned, with satisfaction and This joy.
feeling was, however, of short duration. as the principal inhabitants of the town,

As soon who were

stoutly opposed to Teresa s undertaking, heard of it, they commenced at once to get up a violent agitation

against it. They concerted together to mislead the people by persuading them that a convent which had no endowment would take the bread out of the mouths of the poor, by absorbing the alms which had hitherto

gone

to relieve their necessities.


;

The indignation soon


s

St. Joseph spread, and became universal of as a public evil which it was necessary

was talked

to suppress.

To

account for fears so absolutely chimerical, one must

attribute the panic of the good inhabitants of Avila, as our saint did, to the machinations of the devil. "If

the whole town had been set on


of Fr.
panic."
"

Julian,

it

was the comment would not have created a greater


fire,"

The excitement was no


carnation.

less at the

Convent of the In

how could she observe the primitive one, in all its rigour? Finally her enterprise was denounced as one only calculated to disturb the public mind, and bring trouble on communities of nuns in general. The upshot was that the prioress (pressure being put upon her both from within and from the secular world outside) sent word to Teresa that she was to

thunder and community, prudence were scattered to the four winds. Teresa was heaping affronts on the Holy Order of Mount Carmel by found ing a monastery which was to aim at a more perfect life than that led by her sisters in religion. If her health had scarcely permitted her to follow the mitigated Rule,

When

the news

came

like a clap of

on

the

discretion

THE STORM BREAKS


leave her house and return at once to the

223

Convent of

the Incarnation.

had just finished partaking of her frugal with her sisters, and had gone to her cell meal midday to take an hour s much-needed rest having kept vigil when the summons from the all the previous night She read it with apparent calm, prioress arrived.
saint

The

though inwardly she felt deeply for her young novices whom she had to leave behind in solitude, and without But throwing her the protection of her presence.
anguish into the heart of her Divine Master, she only waited long enough to bless and embrace her dear children, leaving sister Ursula of the Saints at their head, to prostrate herself at the foot of the altar, and to recommend the monastery to the care of our Lord and
St. Joseph, before taking her departure for the Incar
I went persuaded that I should be but this would have been a great once put have had nobody to speak to, I should because comfort, and might have had some rest and solitude which I was much in need of; for so much intercourse with people

nation.

She says:

"

in prison at

had worn me

out."

Teresa passed through the town accompanied by Fr. Julian, who says he offered himself to her as chaplain and squire, and told her that he would be ready to de vote himself, as such, to her service till the day of her also accompanied death. Other priests," he says, us, and though she was badly received at her convent she had not to suffer to the extent she feared." The saint on her arrival was led, like a rebel, into the presence of the prioress, who awaited her surrounded The sight of her by the elders of the community. alone had an effect in softening the angry feeling which had reigned in the convent with regard to her. Teresa answered the questions addressed to her, explained her
"
"

224

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
herself in the

TERESA

conduct, and

left

The

latter, after consulting the rest of the

hands of her superior. community,

with the advice of the majority appealed to the pro vincial for his judgment. On Fr. de Salazar s arrival
the nuns were re-assembled, and Teresa, peaceful and modest as ever, with the dignity born of deep humility,

appeared before her judges. "When he came," says Teresa,


to

"

was summoned

judgment, rejoicing greatly at seeing that I had I did not think that something to suffer for our Lord.

had offended against His Divine Majesty in anything had done. I thought of Christ receiving sentence, and I saw how this of mine would be less than nothing. I confessed my fault as if I had been very much to and I seemed to so blame, everyone who did not know all the reasons. After the provincial had rebuked me sharply, though not with the severity which my
I

nor according to the representations would not defend myself. I prayed him to forgive me and punish me, and be no longer angry with me." Disarmed by Teresa s humble sincerity, Fr. de Salazar was disposed to be indulgent, but the nuns returned to the charge with fresh accusations. Teresa excused them as follows: saw that they condemned me on some charges of which I was innocent for they said I had founded the monastery that I might be thought much of, and for other reasons of that kind. But on other points I saw clearly that they were speaking the
fault deserved, made to him, I
"I
;

when they said I was more wicked than the other nuns. They asked how could I, who had not the Rule in that house, think of keeping it in kept another of stricter Observance. They said I was a source of scandal in the city, and was setting up
truth, as
novelties."

These accusations

failed to disturb

Teresa

TERESA SUMMONED TO JUDGMENT


serenity.

225

Nevertheless, she tells us in her Life, she ap peared grieved, so as not to annoy her sisters by an appearance of indifference. Fr. de Salazar heard all the nuns allegations in much perplexity. Was Teresa in truth a visionary and rebellious subject such as they made out? He waited for her to justify her conduct, but the saint, true to her resolution to imitate Christ s
silence before Pilate, said nothing. Finally the father bade her tell him in the presence of the community the

motives on which she had acted. Thus adjured, Teresa explained the objects she had in view, and her reasons were so conclusive that neither the provincial nor the community had a word more to urge. The provincial then dismissed the nuns, and keeping back Teresa he re ceived a detailed account from her of all that had passed between her and her Divine Master on the subject of the Foundation, of the advice she had asked and received, and the precautions she had taken not to depart from the path of duty and of obedience. Fr. de Salazar was a just man, and an excellent religious satisfied with the explanations she had given him, he blessed her, and promised to authorize her return to St. Joseph s as soon as the tumult in the town had subsided.
;

The

troubles,

however,

in

that

direction

went on

increasing. Anyone would have said that a revolution was brewing in u Avila of the Saints."
steadily

The people

assembled in crowds in the streets, messengers were being sent to and fro between the governor s house and the Convent of the Incarnation. The sudden apparition of an army of Moors at the gates of the city would not have produced a greater commotion. 1 The popular tumult spread to the go vernor s house and on the 26th of August, after a noisy meeting at the town hall, it was agreed that the
;

Julian d Avila.

226

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

convent should be suppressed, and the four novices own homes. The little com the council s decision by the when informed of munity, came in who person to acquaint them with corregidor,
told to depart to their
it, refused to obey it. They appealed to the tribunal of the King, Philip II, and declared that they trusted their cause to God, the Avenger of the weak and the

oppressed. The corregidor retired, for the moment defeated but he convoked a meeting for the following day, in
;

which he
of the

set forth at length the,

supposed, iniquities
as follows
:

new Foundation.

They were

It

was

It was departure, therefore to be suspected. founded by a woman who gave herself out as the

new

that was sufficient recipient of visions and revelations sensible people to distrust it. Also, Avila was an additional communities of many religious possessed
;

for

one without endowment would be a heavy burthen on Teresa de Ahumada had the resources of the city.

opened

it

without the consent of


to
it

its

chief magistrates,

community was illegal. He therefore asked of the religious authorities that the Blessed Sacrament should be removed from the chapel and the nuns expelled, and subsequently that the walls of the convent should be pulled down. The reasons alleged by the governor appeared so the conclusive that a large majority sided with him
Consequently
;

or of that of the

which she belonged.

Accordingly the order for the immediate destruction of St. Joseph s convent
few
differed
silent.

who

were

was about
"

to be given, when a Dominican, Fr. Banez, rose from his place and spoke as follows
:

he said, of temerity in opposing the unanimous opinion of so influential a meeting. But my conscience obliges me to support the rights of
"

am

conscious,"

TERESA ATTACKED AND DEFENDED


justice.
I

227

de

neither know, nor have I ever seen, Teresa Ahumada, and I arn ignorant of her projects.

Accordingly I am absolutely impartial in what I am about to urge. You say that this is a new departure but because a thing is new, is it therefore reprehensible? Were not all religious Orders new when they first originated in the bosom of the Church? When our Divine Saviour first founded the Church itself, was it
;

not altogether a new thing ? If it is the novelty of this new Foundation that displeases you, I will change the word for another. I repeat that the changes, the fresh

beginnings that are introduced into the Christian

life

for the greater glory of God and for the reform of morals, are not to be talked of as novelties, but as efforts at renewing and infusing fresh fervour into

a sanctity which is from all time. The trees are not new because the spring covers them each year with fresh foliage, nor the sun because it rises again

every

why, therefore, should you condemn as a novelty the zeal of a soul who desires to clothe an ancient Order with its ancient splendour, or at least to bring forth a young and vigorous oil-shoot from its stem? The monastery lately founded is a reform of an ancient institute it seeks to raise that which has fallen to the ground. It restores an enfeebled Rule, and tends to the honour of religion and the edification of a Christian people. It should, therefore, under all those headings earn not only toleration, but the favour and protection of the authorities of the city and of the i( state. I am amazed Truly" (he ended by saying)

morning

when
poor

should be considered that a few in their ceils and occupied with prayer could become a burthen on the place and a Is that a cause sufficient to rouse public menace. a city? Why is it we find ourselves assembled here
I

think that

it

women

hidden

228

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

to-day in such numbers? Is there an army battering Or a fire ravaging it? Or plague or at the gates? famine laying it waste? By what perils is it menaced ? Four peaceful and humble Carmelites have established themselves in an obscure quarter of the town that is the scourge of Avila, and the cause of all this agita
1
tion."

Fr. Dominic Banez, who spoke thus, was a doctor of divinity of Salamanca, a learned man of much in He was listened to at first with fluence in Avila.

arguments finished by convincing all He concluded by regretting but prejudiced minds. the absence of endowment of the new Foundation, less on account of the tax it would be on the resources of the town than because of the privations which it would entail on the nuns. "The bishop," he said, alone has the power to decide on the question at issue, the Holy See having If there has been any put it under his authority. in the convent without the agree starting irregularity

surprise, but his

ment of the

civil

government, they have the power

of carrying their complaints to the bishop himself, instead of resorting to measures against which the rights of individuals, the Christian sentiment, and the

honour of the

city alike

protest."

The governor found himself obliged

to

bow

before
;

the general impression produced by this speech the instant execution of his judgment was therefore sus

The meeting dispersed. Fr. Banez had pended. saved the convent from destruction, but that was all. Murmurs rose once more. The saint s opponents did not dare to address themselves to the bishop their was to induce the of the and object provincial, prioress Incarnation to force her submission. Teresa suffered
:

History of the Order of Mount Carmel, Bk.

II, ch. xii.

TERESA HER
much meanwhile,
hoping
"

OWN LAWYER
continued
1

229
,

but

she

that the

work

in spite of all

praying and would one day

triumph.

Do you

not know,

my
to

daughter,"

our Lord had

said to her, "that I am all-powerful? Rest assured that our monastery shall never be destroyed. I shall

accomplish

My

promises

1
it."

Strong

Dona Guiomar, and having

in this assurance, Teresa wrote to her friend told her what had happened,

she showed no uneasiness about the future, but com missioned her to buy some missals, and a small sacristy bell for the use of the community. After fresh deliberations it was judged advisable to There is lay the matter before the king s council. a great law-suit impending therefore," Teresa writes;
"

sending its deputies to court, we ought But where are we to find them, or the money which will be required?" She adds: "God s servants left alone at St. Joseph are doing more with their prayers than I am doing with all my negotiations." 2 Teresa had recourse to the excellent Fr. Julian, who had constituted himself her chaplain and servant from the first day of the Foundation. He was ready to act
"

the town

is

to

send ours.

and man of business, with a power of attorney from Teresa, and she in turn was her own 3 Nor was this all. He went to lawyer and advocate. and fro between St. Joseph s and the convent of the Incarnation, carrying the mother s blessing to her forlorn daughters, and giving the former daily news of her beloved little flock. Fr. Gonzales de Aranda
as messenger

agreed to act as deputy, and started for Madrid to


1

Our Lord had predicted


mentioned
in

vision
2
3

this persecution to Teresa at Toledo. the thirty-ninth chapter of her Life also alludes to

A
it.

Life, eh. xxxvi.


"

Ella servia de letrado e yo de

procuraclor."

Julian d Avila.

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


defend the interests of the Foundation before the king s council. Finally Fr. Daza and Don Francisco did all
in their
for

power

to help the nuns, Fr.

Daza

in

providing
for

their

spiritual,

and

Don

Francisco

their

material requirements. It was at this time that a temporary absence of the pro vincial threatened further to compromise the situation.

The
to

prioress profited by his absence to forbid Teresa take any further steps in the matter. The saint submitted without a word of quietly remonstrance, and determined to let the Foundation perish rather than to

infringe on the duty of obedience.

"Oh,
"

my

Divine

this house Master," she cried, turning to her Saviour, is not mine, it is Yours. Now that nobody is left to defend it, it is for Your Majesty to do so." The return of the provincial shortly afterwards set Teresa at liberty to continue her course of action. The law -suit proceeded meanwhile slowly and sometimes all seemed tediously with varying fortunes and a then of lost, ray again hope appeared. Teresa, looking at the question from the highest standpoint, avoided all bitter views or thoughts with regard to her opponents. She remained always kind and charitable in her intercourse with them, and was persuaded that they acted in good faith, though blinded by prejudice, and believed that they were working for the interests of the town in opposing her project. In her opinion the evil spirit, who misled these good Christians, was alone to blame. At last Fr. Gonzales de Aranda, by his zealous efforts, obtained a complete success at Madrid. The king s council pronounced in favour of Teresa, and blamed the governor s proceedings severely. The latter had
;

to

renounce his plans of destruction of the monastery but he maintained that unless it was endowed the
;

DECISION OF THE KING S COUNCIL


"

231

town would never sanction the existence of the Foun of the dation. I was very wearied," Teresa owns, friends our trouble and anxiety the affair was causing I thus, rather to give them peace than for my own sake, the in point." ceding thought there would be no harm But this concession would have been a departure from
"

desired that the roots of the reformed Carmel should be set in the most complete poverty and detachment. He did not fail to acquaint Teresa with this, and St. Peter of Alcantara was sent

God

designs,

Who

to her,

with the glory of heaven, which he had just entered, about him, and said to her with a severe countenance: See that you do not consent to an
"

you not follow my counsels?" remained inflexible, and difficul Accordingly Teresa whose name is not one ties recommenced. Some as a great servant alludes Teresa known, but to whom
endowment.
will

Why

God, suggested that a meeting of learned men should be held and the decision left to them. But Teresa remembering that her saintly Franciscan friend had said to her, In matters that concern the perfect
of
"

refused the only take advice of those that follow more waxed the and opposition projected conference, In the midst of these turmoils bitter from day to day.
life
it,"

and

anxieties, when the prospects of St. Joseph were at their blackest, the arrival of Fr. Ibanez, the eminent

Dominican divine, who had been Teresa s first help and support in founding her convent, was announced
tion the saint

knew nothing of the opposi had met with, and he seems to have arrived at Avila scarcely knowing what brought him But as soon as the public rumours reached thither. him he went at once to Teresa and put his services at her disposal. The Dominicans, and Fr. Ibanez in
in Avila.

Father Ibanez

particular,

enjoyed

considerable

influence in

Avila,

232

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

which even his absence had not wholly destroyed. He was received everywhere with much deference, and the violent language excited by Teresa s proceedings, and the opposition offered to them, were sensibly dimin ished when it was known that the venerable religious was her warm supporter. Before he left Avila, after a short stay in that city, matters had taken a more
favourable turn. On his return to his solitude he continued the good work, and wrote to the provincial urging him to allow Teresa to rejoin her daughters at St. Joseph s. The Bishop of Avila used his influence in a similar manner. Fr. de Salazar hesitated, he did not dare to refuse, but he found one pretext after another to defer his consent. A fresh Brief from Rome giving permission to the saint to found a convent with out endowment 1 removed the last objection to the new Foundation and Fr. Ibafiez s intervention having pacified the public feeling, what reason was there to deprive the community of their mother? Teresa, who felt deeply the trials her daughters were undergoing, herself implored the provincial to fulfil his promises and seeing she gained nothing thereby she warned him with holy intrepidity: Take care, my father," she said, lest you resist the Holy Ghost." Fr. de
;
;
" "

Salazar, on hearing these words, was suddenly en He no longer hesitated lightened by Divine grace. and besides consenting to her return to St. Joseph s, he empowered her to take with her some nuns from the Convent of the Incarnation. Three professed
;

nuns and a novice followed her. The latter, Isabella she had worn Paul, was related to Teresa the Carmelite habit for a year, but she had waited to make her profession till she could do so in the Rule of the primitive Order. That solemnity was one of
of St.
;
3

Boll.,

Neb. 362-70.

TERESA RETURNS TO
the
St.
first

ST.
by

JOSEPH S
community
"

233
of

festivals

celebrated
all

the

Joseph.
bereft

as a possessions, but happy 1 sparrow escaped from the net of the fowler," Teresa passed through the streets of Avila, which she had traversed seven months before, almost as a condemned
of
prisoner. According to a popular tradition, she stopped on her road at the ancient basilica of St. Vincent. There she descended into the subterraneous crypt, and having prayed before the much-venerated statue of our Lady which is kept there, she took off her shoes and stockings, and assumed the alparagartas in order to
,

Thus

enter St. Joseph s a discalced Carmelite.What joy must have moved her heart as she passed over the threshold of the door Her children awaited
!

but before joining them she went straight to the little chapel to make the first offering of her joy and gratitude to her divine Saviour and there she remained long absorbed in prayer. She thanked Him for His mercies and graces to her she
s

her in the nun

choir

offered herself, and the little flock who were about to share her life of self-abnegation to His love and service.

She conjured
believed, she

Him

to

bless the retreat where, as she

was going to be buried for the rest of her days. Jesus listens to His well-beloved servant. Then, in His turn He speaks, and Teresa, rapt in ecstasy,
beholds

Him

stooping

down

to her with unutterable

and blessing her and to do honour to the Blessed Virgin and Queen of Carmel. At last Teresa left the church the doors of the convent were opened to receive her. The novices met her with a joy
love, placing a crown on her head, for what she has done to please Him,
;

Julian

cT Avila.

The alparagartas were

the sandals used

by the poor throughout

Spain at that period.

234

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

anguish they had gone through She embraced them and presented their new companions from the Incarnation to them, and together they all repaired to the choir, where their holy mother offered up, in the presence of the Blessed
in proportion to the

at losing her.

Sacrament, the following prayer O my God, Thou knowest that I have ever felt that there was no proportion between my littleness and the greatness of the task Thou hast assigned to me. Thou knowest that all I have undertaken has been at Thy command. And without Thy help, how should I have accomplished it, or have surmounted my difficulties ?
:
"

Being convinced, therefore, that it is Thy work, I am also convinced that it will grow and prosper. Here are the living stones with which Thou hast chosen to build

Make them worthy to be used in its and give them such strength and firmness that time will have no power to overcome them. Let all worldly vanity and pleasure be far removed from
up Thine
edifice.
;

construction

our hearts.

Let

Thy

love reign alone in

Thy

house,

and may it be accompanied with penance, and humility, and prayer without which no virtue can stand. Thou hast planted this little garden in which to take Thy
delight.
It

belongs to

flowers that

grow

in

it.

Thy omnipotence to cherish the I know myself too well to

think I can do aught to help this work. My nothing ness is always before me, and all I ask of Thee is the forgiveness of my cowardice and my sins. Remember, O Lord, Thy mercies of old, and the promises Thou hast made to me and may Thy Blessed Mother, and my glorious Father St. Joseph, and all the saints of our Order, protect us now and for ever." 1 Having poured forth her soul to God in prayer, Teresa got up from her knees, and proceeded to invest
; ]

His/, of the Order, Bk.

II, ch.

xv.

THE SAINT S PRAYER

235

her companions with the habit of the reformed Carmel ites. She likewise assumed it herself with great joy. The habits previously worn by the nuns, though plain and worn, had been of good material they exchanged these for the coarsest serge, their fine linen garments
;

for

woollen tunics, and their long pleated mantles edged with fringe, for mantles of rough white material, without fringe or pleats. Finally they put on the rough sandals of the poor on their bare feet. All distinctions of rank or title were alike suppressed the nuns choos

ing for names those of their patron saints. What name was Teresa to choose? That of Him towards Whom her heart turned night and day, Whose love consumed her Teresa de Ahumada became Teresa of
;

Jesus.

CHAPTER XV
Carmel of St. Joseph was founded, the primi Rule reinstated, and Teresa of Jesus belonged henceforth to God and her spiritual children only. What a marvellous sight it was exclaims Fr. Julian of Avila, who, writing the history of the Foundation forty-two years after it was effected, gives vent to his enthusiasm at the recollection of all that had passed. Who would not be struck with astonishment in beholding what Omnipotence has done for this little house. What was there in it, O my God, which evoked such tenderness on Thy part and such solici tude? If Thou hadst not been at hand to protect the holy mother, how could she have possibly triumphed over her persecutors? Surely there must have been

THE

tive

"

"

"

great importance in this work, a great secret concealed beneath it, or the evil one would not have worked so

hard to undo what God had accomplished. Well, let the world learn what this great thing was if it has not yet learned it. It is that God willed to have a house in which He could recreate Himself; a house in which He could take up His abode a garden in which flowers should grow not of the kind which expand on earth, but those which bloom only
;

in

heaven."

The monastery
:

of St. Joseph

was

to be, in truth, the

paradise of delights, the precious retreat of the Divine Master rinconcito de Dios, as it was named by Teresa, in her own charming language. It was here that the

THE GARDEN OF
saint shut herself

ST.

JOSEPH

237

up with her daughters in order to console the heart of her divine Saviour by a boundless devotion, a perfect fidelity, and as this object developed and revealed itself more clearly by working by means of prayer and penance for the triumph of the Faith and the conversion of sinners. Fr. Julian was not mistaken this work of reparation and atonement was indeed a very great and important one. It was the essential and necessary work of an epoch when the Divine Justice found unceasingly fresh crimes to punish. The tide of heresy was ever rising. The Netherlands were deeply involved France lay bleeding from her wounds. Scepticism reigned in the Isle of Saints, was plunged Germany England, in the horrors of Henry the Eighth s shameful reign. All these great nations were at war with God. They
;

chased

from their churches, and proscribed His dominions. Was it not therefore religion that He, the sovereign Master, should find necessary one spot, in the garden of St. Joseph, wherein His divine wrath should be appeased? And since our Saviour has so many enemies, and so few friends, should not His friends try hard to please Him? This was our saint s primary idea in shutting herself up within the walls of St. Joseph s Convent. It was a question of attaining perfection, and of going to work to acquire it with generosity, and yet with wisdom, according to the lights given by God, and not in accordance with human impulses. Teresa was resolved to impose no sacrifice on her daughters but those \vhich personal experience had proved to her were possible and practicable moreover, to teach principally by example, and to follow the wishes into which the fervour of her nuns led them rather than to forestall them. Thus, before going into the question of the
in

Him

their

238

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

primitive Rule, or of the Constitutions, as laid down by the saint, or studying the principles of her direction of souls, we will, like her, allow the first few weeks and

months to pass by, and take a short survey of the methods she made use of in order to infuse the monastic
her little community. various duties of the house amongst the nuns on the very day of her arrival, in order that, whilst all should assist in a mutual service of their neighbour, none should be troubled with cares Teresa (to the injurious to recollection and prayer.
spirit into the daily life of

Teresa

divided

the

general consternation) appointed Mother Anne of St. John as prioress, and took herself the lowest place in This act of humility was met by tearful the house. expostulations, which were followed up by an appeal to the bishop who, when he heard what she had done

came

at once, in person,

to rectify matters.

He

im

posed upon her under obedience the office of prioress. Obliged therefore to accept it, she fulfilled to the letter the precept of St. Albert s Rule, namely, that he who governs others should look upon himself as the servant of all. 1 Everything in the monastery had to be organized, and the saint neglected nothing, providing for the wants and necessities of her community with a mother s care. Thanks to Don Francisco de Salcedo s alms, she was able to supply the cells with their simple furniture, a mattress of straw, a footstool, an earthen ware jug; a crucifix, with the figure of our Lord traced on paper, and a shell to contain holy water near it hung on the plain white wall. A narrow garden just held

room some

for their little supply of vegetables, and for tiny hermitages in which the nuns, following the example of the Fathers of the desert, could retire in

order to read and pray.


1

Teresa worked unceasingly,


Vincente de
la

Reg-la carmelitana. Ycpes.

Fuentc.

TERESA S MATERNAL CARES


and by degrees the convent began regular and monastic appearance.
to

239

assume a more

Her maternal

solicitude found another outlet in the

The manual labour of the com their ensured munity supply of daily bread, and Provi dence took care that what was required, over and above, was not wanting. Again, Teresa never ceased watching that there should be no excess in acts of penance. She insisted that the frugal meals should be
care of the refectory.

properly prepared, and, notwithstanding her thirst for mortification and sufferings, she partook of an egg, or some fish, or fruit or vegetables, at her meals in order that her daughters should keep up their strength 1 by following her example. If, however, a day of scarcity of more than usual severity occurred there was the universal cry, general rejoicing. "To-day," was
"we

are really

poor."

Then

the saintly mother would

gather together what was left of the previous day s pro visions, and, blessing them, distributed them amongst the most weakly of her little flock. But these being quite sure that their sisters necessities were as great as their own, would refuse to touch their meagre por tions. So they were handed from one to the other till they returned to Teresa, who, replacing them on the table, exclaimed, Evidently we must wait till all can be served." They were never kept long in suspense. On one occasion of this kind a poor man brought them two big loaves and a piece of cheese. Or the outer
"

bell

summoned

the portress to the door,

and

silently,

without her being able to judge who was their bene factor, a quantity of provisions were passed in at the
turnstile. Another time, a lady living at a distance of twelve miles from the monastery, and ignorant of the necessities of the community, sent them at a critical
1

Ribera.

2 4o

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


Thus they were never
to eat, all the food left to starve,

moment, when they had nothing


they required.

and the fervour of their acts of thanksgiving to God and their benefactors on these occasions may be more
1 When Providence imagined than described. desires of the lend itself the fervent to to appeared and feel allowed them to Carmelites, something of the had the secret of Teresa of extreme poverty, rigour

easily

making

from her a dish of

With a blessing their very privations sweet. fried vine-leaves, acorns served

without any seasoning, sufficed for the wants of the community. On one occasion on the feast of Corpus Christi there was nothing to eat but a little bread. Teresa distributed this amongst her daughters, and then, instead of the usual spiritual lecture, she spoke to them herself, and satisfying their souls with a divine nourishment she poured forth burning words of love for Jesus hidden under the sacramental veil, so that
the nuns forgetting their

hunger rose from the table

and, inflamed with divine love, went in solemn pro cession from the refectory to the choir. They sang

psalms and acts of thanksgiving there, praising God having allowed them to taste on that occasion the sweetness of poverty, and the delights of the Heavenly
for

Manna. 2 It was but rarely, as we have already said, that our Lord permitted that they should be reduced to these extremities. Dona Guiomar did not forget the wants of her beloved Carmelites. She would have willingly shared their life had her health allowed her. Not being able to do so, she made up for it by frequent visits, and she never came without bringing an offering with her. The nuns of the neighbouring convent of Poor Clares
1

History of the Order


Ibid.

>>f

Mount Carme?, Bk.

II, ch. XVII.

EDIFICATION BY THE COMMUNITY

241

delighted in sharing their meals with the sisters of St. Joseph. In short, every prejudice died out of itself in Avila, and the poor little convent became the object of general admiration and goodwill. Teresa received everything that was given her in alms with gratitude ; as she said of herself, her heart could be gained with a sardine." But she never begged from anyone, and she forbade her daughters to make any appeal to their
"

relations

convent.

by speaking to them of the necessities of the The rumours of the holy lives led by the
frequently
to

recluses of St.

church

who came

Joseph attracted many to the little it could hardly contain the crowd listen to the slow and solemn chanting of

the Carmelites of the Reform, true notes of turtle-doves mourning with their Beloved. The saint alluding to
it
"

says naively,

it."

None

\vere

It gave people much devotion to hear more assiduous in their attendance at

divine office than Teresa

niece,

already seen, love of God struggled within her soul with love of the world. Finally, God triumphed, and she came in the month of October, 1563, to ask of her saintly aunt the holy habit of Carmel, which she

As we have

Maria de Ocampo.

took under the name of Mary of St. John the Baptist. Besides her jewels, which were used for the adornment of the altar, she brought a dowry which relieved the convent of a rent with which it had been burthened. 1
if

Maria s father would have willingly increased the sum Teresa had permitted him to do so, but the saint

refused, guarding the poverty of the house as its She may also have feared that her greatest treasure. niece s gifts to the convent might have had the effect of causing her to be treated with greater consideration than her less well-endowed sisters, and to avoid this

danger she not only stemmed the


1

tide of her family s

Ribera.

242

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

generosities, but she treated Maria herself as the last and least important of the community. She seemed to

take no notice of Maria s superior intelligence, and set her to work at the lowest and most menial offices of the house. A complete transformation took place in the character of the youthful novice the high-spirited girl became the humblest member of the community, and her growing sanctity took the form of a simplicity, and an abandonment of herself in the hands of God, which enchanted and edified the little convent of
;

Carmel. By nature enthusiastic and lively, Maria found the silence of the cloister a little oppressive, but when the time came to break it, at recreation, her play ful remarks delighted everyone. Teresa, though she accused her of talkativeness, was frequently seen to
smile at her niece
St.
s
s sallies

of wit.

deficient in one important Joseph in the only well in water the contained requirement: side the enclosure was so bad that the supply used for drinking had to be fetched daily from the town. Teresa, thinking that if the water was passed through pipes it might be made drinkable, sent for a plumber to He ridiculed the idea, consult him on the subject.

Convent was

alleging that the source

itself was corrupt. Teresa, what had passed at recreation time, asked of relating Let us put her sisters what they thought about it.
"

down
"as

the pipes, dear

mother,"

said Sister

Mary

Baptist;

it is,

our Lord

is

water, so that
It will

we

obliged to send us to the town for have to pay someone to bring it.
less to let us
it

cost

Him much
Be sure

have

it

straight

from the
saint

well.

will all

come

right."

The

approved of the argument, and gave orders that the men should proceed with the work. Accordingly,
they began at first much against their wishes, but soon they found the canal they had dug was filled with

SISTER

MARY BAPTIST S WELL

243

a plentiful supply of pure water. The workmen spread the news of this great marvel- for as such they looked

upon it throughout Avila, and people asked to drink of this astounding spring, which came to be known before long as the fountain of Mary Baptist.
in her fervour and piety. Young and beautiful, and the pos sessor of a great name and a large fortune, she had many aspirants to her hand, whom in her pride of race she repulsed as unworthy of it. When at last the King of kings asked her for her heart she could no longer urge this excuse, but appalled at. the thought of the solitude and obscurity of a cloistered life, she implored to be let off this sacrifice. Vain was the prayer Jesus loved her too dearly to give her up. Accordingly, after

Another novice, Maria de Avila, who related to our saint, rivalled Maria de

was also nearly

Ocampo

days and nights spent in tears and inward combats she parted from her relations, broke the chains which bound her to the world, and came to ask for admission in the poorest and humblest convent in Avila. Teresa, warned of her arrival, met her at tru door of the cloister. The saint smiled when she saw Maria robed in satin and adorned with jewels, as if she had been
dressed for some great function.
fix to her,

She held out a cruci and Maria kneeling before it kissed it, and then turning to the crowd who had accompanied her to the monastery door she bade them farewell, and follow

ing Teresa into the house she stripped herself of her gay apparel. Soon after she returned to the church clothed in the rough habit of Mount Carmel. The woman of the world was transformed into the humble spouse of Christ. In answer to the usual her to de Mendoza she answered questions put by Mgr. in a firm voice: ask three things the mercy of God, the poverty of the Carmelite Order, and the com"I

244

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

panionship of the sisters." She had chosen the name Mary of St. Jerome, and to the love of penance, and the mortifications of her patron saint, she joined a humility and meekness which made her look upon her self as utterly unworthy to be associated with her sisters in religion. Teresa, astounded at this young of selfgirl s progress in sanctity, made it an occasion humiliation before God in prayer. "How many years it is, O my Lord, that I have given myself up to prayer and Thou hast overwhelmed me with Thy favours," cried
of
the

humble
to

saint,

"and

yet

Thou

hast not received

from me a return such as these generous souls have

months with far fewer graces what do I say? even one amongst them, in three days." These words applied to Mary of St. Jerome, who was in truth a perfect nun almost from the day in which she
in three
!

made

Thee

put on the habit. Teresa gave her charge of the novices directly she had pronounced her vows, reserv ing for her at a later epoch a post of even greater It was to Teresa s prayers, and to the responsibility. influence she had over her, even in the days of her worldliness, that Mary of St. Jerome felt that she was indebted for her vocation and she used to repeat in her later days that she owed her conversion, her voca Our mother Teresa tion, and her eternal salvation to
;
"

of

Jesus."

Joseph s Convent was enlarged Jerome s dowry. Other postulants presented themselves, and though penniless our saint received them with open arms, so that the number of thirteen, which she had determined not to exceed, was soon reached. She had fixed on that number because experience had taught her the disadvantages of a large community to a contemplative life. Active Orders can
of St.
St.
1

The church with Mary of

Ribcra.

DUTIES OF CARMELITE NUNS


never
efforts

245

number too many in community, their united being more useful than if they lived apart. But

it is not so in a cloistered one, where the soul goes in search of solitude in order to give itself up to prayer. Doubtless the contemplative nun requires a mother to watch over her and to direct her footsteps, sisters who rouse her fervour by their example, a religious family towards whom she is able to exercise the duty of charity in short, a life in common is necessary, so as to give her constant occasion for self-sacrifice, for patience, and the other virtues. But a small religious family will furnish all these requirements without the distractions consequent on a numerous one. Also few souls are able to stand an unbroken life of contemplative prayer.
;

the cloistered

Action should take turn with contemplation and as life prevents the Carmelite nun from
;

devoting herself to works of mercy, it is necessary to provide her with an outlet for her energies inside her own enclosure, in manual labour, and work for her sisters. This outlet Teresa found for her daughters in the discharge of the various offices of community life, where each contributed her services to the general

good.

The

fervour

of

these

novices

at

St.

Joseph

Teresa prudently equalled that of their predecessors. put them through a long trial before admitting them to their profession. She wished to make sure that their courage was of the kind that would carry them through the trials of solitude, and the austerities of
monastic life, and would last to the end, and was not the result of a passing fit of fervour. Ursula of the Saints, the eldest of the novices, had before leaving home had the management of her father s house, and would have been well fitted for a similar post at St.

Joseph

s.

But our saint wished

to

make

humble and

246
perfect

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

nun of her, not a good housekeeper. Ursula submitted to this training with the simplicity of a child. On one occasion Teresa sent her to bed in the middle of the day, and when her sisters in religion came to visit her, and sympathized with her supposed ailments, u I don t feel she answered anything the matter with me to the infirmary, has as our mother sent but me, she must know best." Teresa made no remark, but she was satisfied with the way Ursula stood the test, and she showed a particular regard for her ever after wards. Mortification and humility, next to obedience, were
:

the favourite

virtues

of

this

fervent

novitiate,

and

Teresa had to be on the watch to restrain her novices in the imprudences to which they were led by their If she had permitted it they would spirit of penance. have mixed cinders, or bitter herbs with their food, the use of the discipline would have multiplied, and nature would have succumbed under the weight of prolonged

The garden was pressed into their service, and not satisfied with the discomfort of straw palliasses, they would sleep, when allowed, on roots and thistles. Ingenious devices of this kind were constantly resorted to by the community, and though not one of these were unknown to their saintly mother, she wisely directed
fasts.

the ardour of their piety into a safer channel, remind

and

ing them that Jesus preferred obedience to sacrifice, that it was in the pure and, above all, the humble heart in which He took His delight. Humility was the virtue which she preached incessantly by word and example, accusing herself of the smallest fault on
all

occasions, and

obliging the nuns, including the

novices, to reprove her for the smallest imperfection. She thus earned the right to expect her daughters to
receive reprimands without attempting to excuse them-

TERESA
selves

EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY

247

and to receive with gratitude penances imposed them. upon There were no lay-sisters at St. Joseph s Convent at wished to have dispensed first, and Teresa would have services. their with Accordingly the permanently
different offices of the house,

cleaning, cooking,

and

were distributed weekly among the nuns. Our saint gave an example to all by the cheerful alacrity with which she applied herself to her work. She never allowed her attraction to prayer to excuse her from taking her part in these occupations. One of her historians relates that when it was her week to be in the kitchen, she took the greatest trouble to make
so forth,
variety in her preparation of the simple food put before the community. 1 On the days when the Sisters communicated she used to return to the kitchen directly she had made a short thanksgiving, feeling sure that
2 by doing so she was accomplishing the Divine Will. Ribera says that when her turn came to be cook nothing How good was ever wanting provisions poured in. He sees my desire to God is she used to exclaim.
"

some

"

"

feed the

well, so He gives me everything Let us add that in taking such care of her He is daughters she never forgot the Divine Host. always there," she says. "Whatever my occupation, He is in the midst of it, helping me exteriorly and Our Lord used to choose these times to visit interiorly.

community

I want."

"

"

her.

One day a

mother wrapped raised above the ground, and still grasping the pan in which she was frying some fish though her soul was far hence, she still continued her work of cooking the dinner. She carried on all the other occupations of
;

sister entering the kitchen saw the holy in ecstasy, her face radiant, her feet

Ribera.
Hist, of the Order.

248

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

same spirit, especially if it was one from which human nature would naturally shrink. As soon as she got back to her cell Teresa used to begin to spin or work. Her earnest desire was to live the life of the poor, and with Jesus the Divine Workman of Nazareth to earn her bread with the sweat of her brow. She never allowed herself a moment for rest, or contemplation outside the hours fixed for prayer. This was so well known at St. Joseph s, that no one would have dared to waste a moment in her presence.
the house in the descrip tion sewing, mending, and spinning. Teresa whilst at the Convent of the Incarnation had shown a
plainest
:

Even her work bore the mark Mount Carmel, for it was of the

of

the

spirit

of

in great talent for needlework the needle became a paint-brush.


;

her skilful hands She had produced

pictures from the life of our Lord, which, Ribera tells us, were masterpieces. To look at them, he says, was to be filled with devotion. But such artistic embroideries, which in those days were the pastime of queens and great ladies, were unsuitable for the solitaries of Mount Carmel. Teresa renounced them for herself and her daughters. She advised them to occupy themselves with plain and useful work, such as could give rise to no vainglorious

some

as

thoughts, and which, whilst occupying their hands, would not interfere with the recollection of their minds in God. Could a more beautiful sight be witnessed," asks
"

an ancient chronicler, "than that of this little flock led by such a mother, bound by the ties of charity, and ever advancing in union with God and love of Him All these fervent nuns might have been said to be animated by one spirit. Their diligence and punc
!

tuality at the various religious exercises, especially at

THEIR LIFE OF SELF-ABNEGATION


choir,

249

where they emulated one another in praising In their modesty and atten a joy to behold. was God, tion during divine office they might almost have competed with the spirits above." Teresa herself was
All my wishes," she says, enchanted with them. were fulfilled in the daughters whom God first gave to me. My most earnest desire was that the first to join should by their example lay the foundation of this
"

life by leading lives of prayer and perfection." had no difficulty in keeping the rules of cloister, They nor in living in absolute poverty. The yoke of penance was light to them they even looked upon themselves as unworthy of bearing it. Many amongst them had their in the in the enjoyment of the world passed youth best it had to offer. None were happier here than these. God seemed to repay them with true joys for the false ones they had given up for His sake. cannot Teresa the it was to me describe," writes, happiness to live amidst these innocent souls, detached from all earthly things." This great fervour, however, we repeat, was directed by our saint s maternal prudence, which was ever on the watch against the shoals and pitfalls of an excess which is almost inevitably followed by reaction. The fame of the sanctity of Pius V (who had lately been appointed to the papal throne) was on the lips of all it reached the solitudes even of Avila. His piety and austerities became the talk of the recreation room. No one was more enthusiastic in his praise than Sister Mary Baptist. It was said that he wore coarse sackcloth next to his skin, and accordingly Sister Mary, backed up by another novice, persuaded Teresa

spiritual

"I

"

to allow

her daughters to follow his example. The experiment was tried, but it led to results which the saint judged to be of a nature to make it unsuitable in

250

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

a climate like that of Spain. When writing the Con stitutions later on, she specially notes that the habit alone is to be made of sackcloth, and the under garments of serge. Many other instances could be given showing the happiness of this united family, living together as they did in an atmosphere of holy
liberty of spirit and of unbroken austerity. The Bishop of Avila, who fulfilled his duty towards

with paternal kindness, visited the convent On one occasion he brought a beautiful frequently. crucifix with him to show Teresa, who in her turn asked his permission to exhibit it to the community. The bishop consented, and Teresa took it inside the enclosure, and returned to the parlour to entertain her
St.

Joseph

few minutes later sounds of chanting were Teresa listened, and the bishop did the same. They opened a door by which a view was obtained into the cloisters, and there they beheld a procession headed
guest. heard.

by the youngest postulant carrying the crucifix, whilst little the nuns chanted the litany of the holy Name. in the made had been responses, alteration, however, and instead of the usual "have mercy on us," the

community was heard


with
us."
;

to sing at the top of their voices

Teresa was moved to confusion at "stay her nuns audacity but the bishop, possibly amused,
certainly

the crucifix on

by this appeal, presented community. The holy mother was accustomed on the great feasts of the Church to give pleasure to her daughters by
to kindness, the spot to the

moved

composing verses appropriate to the occasion. An ardent faith was allied in these compositions to the deepest devotional feeling. The Carmelites sang of the poverty of the Son of God in the stable of Bethle hem, and of His first tears. Or they rejoiced when the angels announced His coming to the shepherds,

TERESA S VISIONS

251

and they left their flocks to adore the Lamb of God. At the Circumcision they wept with Him at His first blood-shedding, and vowed to follow Him on the road There were other great of penance and self-sacrifice.
days
to be celebrated,

such as the joy of the days of

profession, the delights of the cloister, the sweetness of an ascetic life, the tenderness of Jesus, "Who puts us in a prison in order to free us, and to lead us by a

happy life to a forever blessed eternity Days passed rapidly at St. Joseph s. This little monastery was in truth, as their chaplain told us, a house of recreation, and of joy to their Divine Lord. Nowhere did He possess purer or more loving hearts, or souls more faithful to His service. Thus Teresa saw Him in a vision confiding them to His Mother, and
!

"

saying to her: "This is My paradise of delight." And on another occasion our Lady appeared to the community after compline, and first looking down upon them with much love and tenderness, she then spread her mantle over their heads in token of having taken them under her protection. There remained still something more for Teresa to undertake a work of difficulty which required both knowledge and skill. This was to write a commentary on the primitive Rule, and to adapt its Constitutions to the special requirements of female communities.
;
1

See Poems by

67.

Teresa.

V. do

l;i

Fuente,

p. 501.

CHAPTER XVI
ancient spirit of Carmel the Carmel of Elias of St. Albert was, as we have already pointed out, that of contemplation, accompanied by manual labour and fasting. The Carmelites were true

and THE

led

hermits, and emulated the lives of fasting- and prayer by their brethren the monks of the desert. Teresa,
its spirit
;

Order at Avila, changed nothing her work was to give a particular bent to its objects, such as the ancient Rule had left undefined. A new element, that of zeal for souls, was under her directing hand to transform this life of prayer and recollection, by turning all the forces of the new-born Carmel on to the conquest of souls. Let us hearken to Teresa, explaining in her own words to her daughters what God expected of them
in resuscitating the

of

"

Help me,
all

my

sisters in Jesus

Christ,"

she says,

"to

pray for
this

the sinners

who

are being lost.


all

It is for

object our

Lord brings you

This is your vocation your business. should tend to this end. For this should your tears flow, for this you should multiply your prayers what shall I say? The world is in flames. Those unhappy heretics would condemn our Lord, so to speak, once more to death, since they raise a thousand false witnesses against Him, and seek to destroy His Church. Can we lose a moment s time over trifles with this thought before us? When I think of these great evils, which are ever increasing, it seems to me
.

here together. All your desires


. .

252

A NUN
the only

PLACE

IN

THE CHURCH
;

253

way would be to raise an army of chosen souls ready to die in the cause of God s Church souls who would never acknowledge a defeat." The saint ex plains her meaning by saying that she would not seek a place for herself, or her daughters in this army of defence of the Church this was to be the privilege of
;

All apostolic men, of bishops, religious, and saints. she desired for the Carmelites of St. Joseph s was to march in the van of the army, and sustain them by the

But, you may rejoin, why go to the help of those who are much holier than we are? I will tell you the reason. Do you understand

ardour of their prayers. the servants of our King.


"

"Let

us

help,"

she

cries,

what you owe to God, my daughters, for having de livered you from the dangers of the world? It is a great happiness and privilege, and one that these apostles of God have not got, in these days least of all,
for they

ones.
is

Would

have to strengthen the weak, to encourage little soldiers fight without their captain? It

necessary, therefore, for

them

to live

amongst men

in order that

they should speak to them, appear in their

great houses, and even sometimes live the


exteriorly, that they do. but a small exercise of
treat

same

lives,

Does

it

require, think you,

virtue to live in

the world,

it, adopt even its ways, and yet remain in heart and soul not only apart from it, but an enemy to it, and so live on earth as if in exile? I implore of you work in such a manner as to become so pleas

with

ing in the sight of God that you may obtain great If we could contribute graces for His defenders. to this success by our prayers, we also shall have fought, we, in the depths of our solitude, for God s
cause."

We
quoted

should

like,

did our space permit of

it,

to
fire

have
with

at length these

pages which seem on

254

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

Teresa longs to make her daughters burn with the same zeal. These are the motives of selfabnegation on which she wishes to see their life of
divine love.

prayer founded:
is

"

Do

not imagine,

my

sisters, that

it

a useless task to be incessantly occupied in praying I know that there are some to God for His Church. who find it is hard not to be allowed to pray for them selves, and yet is there a better prayer than the one
I

have

set

before

you?

Are you
on

afraid
this

prolonged purgatory may answer that prayers such as these are too pleasing to God for Him to leave them unrewarded. But sup posing our time of expiation is prolonged thereby? What would it Well, let us consent to this also matter to me supposing I remained in purgatory till the day of judgment, if by that means I had saved one soul, or procured an increase of glory to my God by the spiritual advancement of any of His children? Despise, my sister, these sufferings which will end in
!

be

that your I account?

it is a question of rendering a service to has suffered so much for love of us." Teresa concludes the chapter thus: "This, my daughters, is the object towards which all your prayers, your penances, .your desires should tend.

time,

when

Him who

which you cease to consecrate all you do know that you will no longer be ful filling God s wishes in your regard, or the objects for which He has brought you together to Mount Carmel. 1 It is not only necessary to please God by a pure heart, fervent prayers, and great fidelity expiation for sin must be joined to purity, sacrifice to prayer. Joys must, at times, be renounced in prayer, repose in con
in for these ends,
;

The day

templation, in order to implore, to entreat, to storm Heaven in behalf of those who do nothing for themj

Way

of Perfection.

THE PRIMITIVE RULE


selves,

255

and will not even take the trouble to knock at the gate of Divine Mercy." Teresa tells us that in the beginning she had no idea of founding St. Joseph s
such extreme poverty and mortification it was only when, struck with consternation at the pro of gress heresy, that she resolved to neglect no means of helping preachers and theologians to defend the Church of God. This Observance, of which she then conceived the general idea, was to be as strict as was compatible with human frailty, and was to be in corporated with the Rule of St. Albert. She was, however, in no haste she began where the wisdom of
in
;

later on,

man

usually terminates.

Instead of laying

down

the

law and formulating rules from an a priori point of view, she began by making a trial of customs such as were adapted to bring about the object she had in
view.

Her only programme was


and she waited
little,
till

of Carmel,
her, little

Rule had experience taught


the

ancient

the best way of fulfilling, or even of could this be done without imprudence. excelling it, trial she constantly received her these of During days daughters confidences, and this gave her a profound insight into the feminine heart the deeply religious feminine heart. 1 She learned what were the wants of a soul vowed to a life of renunciation, of separation from the world, and of death to self. She carried this practical knowledge to the feet of our Lord, she deepened it with prayer and her intelligence, en lightened by divine wisdom, completed her acquired

by

knowledge.
to the hermits of the

primitive Rule, given by the patriarch St. Albert, mountain of Elias, is only a short summing-up of the great monastic precepts on poverty,

The

chastity,

and obedience, which are


1

put

under the

V.

tie la

Fucnte, Vol.

I,

p. 281.

256

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

guardianship of solitude and silence, and joined to the following three points which confer on it the
character proper to the Order
1.
:

regards prayer: Let the religious remain in their cells, and meditate day and night on God s law, watching in prayer, unless prevented by necessary and legitimate occupation. 2. As regards fasting: The religious should fast from the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross until Easter daily, excepting on Sundays, unless prevented by illness or other valid causes for which "necessity knows no law." They shall never eat meat unless it is for some special reason of health. 3. The Rule prescribes manual labour as incessant as is their prayer. It proposes St. Paul for their
imitation,
silence," it

As

who worked day and


"

night.

enjoins,
1

for this road is a

Labour in good and holy


"

one

follow

it."

The Rule,
humility,
recitation

after
spirit

giving advice on the subject of


of
faith,

the
of

of

mortification,

the

office, and correction of faults, terminates with these words We have treated these

divine

"

and

subjects briefly, laying down rules for your way of life if any of you should do more than is required of them, God will reward you when He comes to judge the
;

world. Let, however, discretion be observed, which is the rule of all virtues." great field was opened to our saint by the last-mentioned words. She explored it both in the character of an adept in the spiritual life, and in that of a mother of many children. The Brief of Pius IV which had approved of the foundation of St. Joseph, had authorized Teresa to make any change or alteration she saw necessary for the good of the

monastery when drawing up


1

its

Constitutions.
in the

She

These three points were practically ignored

mitigated Rule.

ST.

TERESA

CONSTITUTIONS
"

257

use of this right in her Constitutions of Car a masterpiece little known to the Nuns," world, but appreciated by her daughters at its true value. do not propose to lift the veil under which this sacred treasure has ever been care The fully guarded by the saint s spiritual family. Constitutions are an heirloom belonging to Carmel which it does not share with the crowd, not even with the pious crowd. Teresa herself recommended her nuns to abstain from discussing the ways and
melite

made

We

customs of community
writing to
friends.

life

in

the parlour,

"Avoid,"

or \vhen she told them, "giv


;

ing
the

if wrong impressions of the life you lead world knew you did such and such a thing they

would take you for saints. Would you be the gainers These Constitutions, let it suffice to say, by it ? bear the mark of her broad and wide spirit, as
"

well

as her

desire

for

great heights of

perfection.

There is nothing superfluous in them, nor do they descend to trifling details, nor vague theories. They are practical and simple, going straight to the point which is the faithful observance of the fundamental and work.
precepts of the Rule, religious vows, penance, prayer, The saint first of all lays down the order to be observed in spiritual matters. Then she gives

is

regulations for the day s work, by which the Carmelite led through a judiciously combined series of exercises,
to

to eleven at The manner of her night when she retires to rest. clothing is also specified, and the kind of grille to be used in the convents. The duties of the nuns with regard to their intercourse with each other the charity to be displayed to the sick the respect due to the
five,
;
;

from prayer to work, divine office from the moment of her rising at

manual labour,

superiors,

and

finally the distribution of the

various

258

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


:

house all these points are gone over Certain precepts which Teresa laid down in the primitive text of her Constitutions she afterwards modified, owing either to the wishes of her ecclesiastical
offices in the

in detail.

superiors, or to the results of personal experience which convinced her of their unsuitability. They were as

follows
(i)

She had

first
;

limited the
this

munity
(ii)

to thirteen

members of each com number she raised to twenty.


;

but later on, re lay sisters use of of their services, the making necessity cognizing she allowed two or three in each of her convents, but
to be exceeded, (iii) Finally, her personal views and her ardent desire for complete poverty, she consented, as \ve shall see later, to the endowment of her convents, in compliance with the advice of certain eminent theologians. These Constitutions were submitted to the Bishop of Avila, who, after having approved of them, submitted them to Pius IV, by whom this approval was con It was likewise enacted, that should the saint firmed. find it necessary to make any alteration or addition to
this
in spite of

She began without

number was never

them
in her

later on, she

maternal

1 at liberty to do so. solicitude for her daughters,

was

Teresa,

was not

as traced by the Constitutions, was laid down, but the great work of developing the interior spirit of Carmel in the souls No of her children remained to be accomplished. and thus, though all lead the two souls are alike
life,
;

yet satisfied by what she had exterior framework of regular

done

for

them.

The

same

life

in

common,

it

is

necessary for a superior

to be acquainted with the character and attainments of every soul under her charge, so that she may guide

them on the road


1

to perfection.
Carmel, Vol.
II,

This was the special


const, xx.

Bull.

"THE

WAY

OF

PERFECTION"

259

work Teresa carried on from her cell. It was by this means that she initiated her children into the secrets of
the spiritual
Yet, in spite of the community being life of constant the number, prayer and work, the hours of silence, all interfered with the much coveted moments of confidential intercourse between
life.

few

in

the

mother and her

accordingly besought paper, so that they might treasure up her counsels, and refer to them for guidance. Teresa owns that it was with difficulty that she yielded to their entreaties. It cost her much to write she could only find time in her rare moments of leisure. She sighed for her distaff
;

The latter spiritual children. her to commit her thoughts to

whilst using the pen, and complained sadly that it kept her from spinning. Fortunately the Carmelites peti tions were backed up by others. The Dominican Order, after coming to our saint s assistance at the time of the foundation of St. Joseph s, had kept on terms of fraternal charity with her. Father Baltasar Alvarez having left Avila, Teresa took Father Banez as her director, and he was replaced, in his absence, by Father Garcia. Father Garcia induced her, under obedience, to complete her autobiography by an account of the foundation of
St. Joseph, and when this task was completed he asked her to undertake a fresh one. This was to be a treatise embracing the counsels she daily gave her daughters on

and the virtues belonging to the religious state. of St. Joseph, aware of Father Garcia s wishes, gave Teresa no peace until she carried them out. Teresa then wrote (with little more method or care than she had previously bestowed on her own history) another spiritual masterpiece, under the name of The Way of Perfection. There are possibly fewer brilliant passages in this work than in the earlier one, for a reason which is not far to seek. It is not here a question of
prayer,

The community

260

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

describing the flight of an eagle, it is rather that of directing the movements of a little child who has but The path she traces lies along lately learnt to walk. from time to time the eye is directed side the valleys towards the mountain tops, but at every step the prudent mother stops to point out the hidden pitfalls,
;

the
all

yawning precipice, or deceptive mirage in short, the dangers of the road. Encouragement also is The saint stops at times in order to not wanting. To cheer the faint-hearted, to raise up the weary.
;

travel

under her guidance


find oneself

is

to

walk without fatigue,

and
The
St.

to

Way
its

the holy
of

speedily at the wished-for end. of Perfection was intended in the eyes of mother for her children of the convent of

Hence the simplicity Joseph, and for them only. never seeks to cover up the She language. little frailties from which life even in a cloister is all is put down without weakness or not exempt evils to which she alludes do not the If flattery. she exist, provides against the possibility of them, because (as she tells us) she has herself been ex posed to these dangers without knowing how to defend herself from them. Her task is to enlighten
;

her daughters, to save them from foolish illusions built upon virtues which are only skin deep. She attacks self-love even to the last barrier behind which it lies The piety aimed at by the Carmelite, entrenched. her to teaching, should be ardent yet solid, according tender but above all profound. This is the gist of her She would persuade her daughters of the book.

nothingness of the perishable joys which they are asked to give up. "All things pass away." Teresa, who so often has said this to herself, repeats to them "What folly to attach oneself to what to-morrow will have but a few hours to live, and what be gone
:

We

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE


a recompense awaits us Life we have to pass in a bad inn.
!

261

but as a night which daughters, let us make no effort to live at our ease. What consolation shall those rind in death who during life have done
is

My

The saint goes on, after show ing the vanity of earthly desire, to describe the realities of eternal happiness. Teresa s reason and common sense preserved her from the excesses which later on were so vigorously denounced by Bossuet, who uses her as a witness when combating the errors of Quietism. If she accepts, and pleads with others to accept, sacrifices of all kinds (a possible prolongation of purgatory included) in order to forward God s glory, never was she misled by a false mysticism into pretending in difference to her eternal salvation. She is ever holding out the sight of Heaven to her nuns she presses them to fix their eyes on it, in order to support the fatigues of the journey and recommends them to think con
penance
for their sins
"

stantly of the blessed their Beloved. "O


"how

moment which

will unite

them

to

my

daughters,"

she

exclaims,

sweet

it

will be for us, at the

go
all
!

before

Him

to be

judged

whom we

hour of death, to have loved above

With what confidence we shall present ourselves Him, sure of hearing a favourable sentence. What happiness to think we are not going to a strange country, but to our own country, since it is to the home of that much loved Spouse whom we love so much, and by whom we are so much loved The foundations of the spiritual life being thus
before
"

solidly laid, the holy reformer builds up the religious virtues of poverty, obedience, humility, and mortifica

upon them. She offers her daughters the support Her prayer and the crowning grace of charity. knowledge of human nature is displayed in the way she tracks its defects and weaknesses to the c^ o-round and
tion

of

262

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
!

then with what force and vigour does she slay them She will have nothing narrow nor petty in the souls If the spirit of the world creeps in, of her daughters. they must be armed at all points to resist it. The
things of this world have no part in the objects which have drawn the nuns of Carmel together at St. Joseph s. She has much to say about poverty. Poverty," she tells them, our badge, our coat-of-arms. Let us it intact, and let everything, our houses, our keep
"

"is

garments, our desires, and our thoughts, show it forth. The greatest honour a poor man can have is to be truly Take care never to build huge monasteries. poor.

Remember they will all crumble away at the last day. Would it be seemly that the house of a few poor nuns The should shake the earth when it comes down ?
"

virtue

of
s

Joseph
till

obedience was so perfectly kept that Teresa said she never knew what it
it

at

St.

she saw

necessary to

recommend
"

It practised by her daughters. the saint so it, only


it.

was like was un

few words about

Obedience,"

she

tells

says a them, "sees

and submits unreservedly to his commands. A soul bound by this vow and neglecting to fulfil it loses her time in a monastery. She will never become a contemplative, or acquit herself well of
in the superior,

God

Mortification meets the it is not necessary turn every Joseph for her to go in search of it. Yet is it astonishing if at times, when the first fervour had passed, that nature

the duties of an active

life."

nun

at St.

s at

should try to reassume her sway? This Teresa will not permit she ridicules the idea that a Carmelite could seek her comfort, or be preoccupied about her health. No one knew better than their holy mother what it was to bear the weight of infirmities, and to have to drag about a weak and exhausted frame, but she knew also
:

by experience that except

in the case of serious

malady

POVERTY AND OBEDIENCE


the best

263

pay as little attention as possible and to bear them bravely. Her daughters suffered from no ailments such as those which she had endured for many years. She therefore asks nothing unreasonable of them when she exhorts them to bear trifling indispositions with fortitude. Her prudence, no less than her maternal tenderness, points would be out the happy medium to be observed. little about an imperfection," she says, complain If you can endure them maladies of no importance. in silence, do so. Remember you are few in number If any of you got the habit of making the most here. of your sufferings and complaining of them it would

remedy

is

to

to these physical miseries,

"It

"to

be enough to trouble the peace of the

rest, to
I

whom
of

you are

bound by the

tie

of charity.

beg

you

therefore, They are

my daughters,
;

to bear

your

little ills in

silence.

sometimes only the

effect of the

imagination.

They come and go if you once begin to talk of them you would never have done. The more we give in to it deceives the poor the body the more it asks of us The nun who soul, and prevents its advance in virtue. is really ill should mention it and take the necessary
;

remedies.

If

she

is

free

from self-love she

will be so

receiving any kind of indulgence and dispensation that there is no fear she will take therr without cause, or complain without reason."
distressed at

Teresa esteems this penance, with justice, higher than any. "To suffer something for God," she says, "alone, without anyone knowing anything about it;

vanquish the body, to free oneself of fear of death, and of the loss of health this is to be rid of a heavy burthen, which will make our march lighter and more But this is not enough for a true Carmelite. rapid. She should, besides this, smile at the occasions which
to

continually present themselves of practising mortifica-

264
tion

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
life,
it

TERESA
alacrity
is

on her path through

and pick up with

sown. Let her have constantly before her the example of her Fathers the hermits of Carmel. She will see them endure cold, solitude. Were they made of iron ? she hunger, heat, ask herself. not more than I am, and she may No,
*

the smallest crosses with which

will try and follow in their footsteps. Then, preferring the austerities enjoined by the Rule to all others, she will seek not to injure her health by excessive mortifica tion which will render her incapable in consequence of

keeping the regular penances. Above all, she should The holy apply herself to interior mortification." mother does not mince matters on this point. She
speaks with perfect frankness to generous hearts u If capable of understanding and obeying her. you wish to be true nuns, my daughters, intimate friends of our Divine Lord, you must be prepared to live the life of martyrs. should have the courage to say once for all that we have come here to suffer, not to Let us therefore renounce in all things our rejoice. own satisfaction, let us accustom ourselves to conquer our natural desires, so that the flesh may be entirely When we have learnt to curb our subject to the spirit. desires in all things we shall have reached the heights
.

We

of perfection." Self-love, the desire of pre-eminence, is trampled underfoot with the same vigour. Teresa is wroth with feeble souls who would associate their in terests or their honour with God s service. The very idea of a proud and ambitious Carmelite causes her to shudder. "No poison could kill the body," she ex more promptly than pride kills perfection in a claims,
"

soul.

Do

not

tell

me

that

am

which are common


small
in

to all the world.

being a subject you can treat

speaking of little defects This is far from There is nothinglightly.


dangers are
menaced."

cases where great

HUMILITY

265

Points of honour, thoughts prompted by self-love, attempts to get appointed to particular posts, all these human miseries, born of pride, are to be utterly banished from St. Joseph s Convent. Teresa desires that such

was right," "Such a one was wrong," should never be heard. Temptations such as these may present themselves they are inevitable. What should be done? To those who are tempted by them the saint recommends that they should act at all times in
words as
"I
;

manner absolutely opposed to these defects that they should ask for the humblest employment in the house, practise acts of humiliation, and never excuse them selves when rebuked, even when conscious that the rebuke was not merited. This is the austere side of the perfection which Teresa requires of her children poverty, obedience,
a
;

mortification, self-abnegation carried to heroic lengths, not only on great occasions, performed at the cost of a momentary pang, but in the thousand obscure details

everyday life, when renunciation, more trying because inward and unseen, becomes a true martyr dom. How is it possible to put human nature to such a severe trial ? Should we not augur that a mortal sadness would weigh down these young hearts thus burthenod in the spring-time of their existence? No, for this yoke is that of the Divine Master, Who lightens it for tho::.e who bear it Teresa does not add lovingly. to its weight her counsels, her rules, her constitutions,
of
;

are but a generous application of the teachings of the Gospel. By the pathway of strong virtues she leads

her daughters to the possession of the beatitude which is promised to those who are poor, humble, meek, persecuted here below, valiant in their opposition to the world and their own frail natures; who thirst after
justice, are persecuted,

and are ready

to persecute

them-

266
selves,

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

The

voluntarily, for love of God and His glory. divine promises were literally fulfilled in the

Carmel of St. Joseph. This hard and penitential life was a continual feast there. The love of Jesus enrap tured every heart, and poured a flood of joy into them. Prayer more than compensated for every sacrifice. These holy souls drew courage from this source to conquer themselves, and found a recompense therein

The saint with the authority of her long experience made the road, which she knew so She led them well, easy for her daughters to follow. gently from simple meditation to the early beginnings of contemplative prayer, carefully following, not an ticipating, the attraction of divine grace in the hearts of each one. She knew how to put herself on the level of all, murmuring little words of prayer into her
for their victories.

novices

ears

as a mother, leaning over her infant s

cradle, whispers to it in broken language the accents she wishes it to pronounce. If she saw them dis

couraged
perfect

by

trials

or
to

"

aridity,

Know

well,

my

daughters,"

she

said

them,

"you

may become

by acquitting yourself of your duties without reaching the heights of contemplation. It is right you should give yourself up to prayer, but you will not all receive equal favours in it. The one, however, who
receives the fewest

may surpass the others in merit, because she has exerted herself the most to acquire it.

treats her as a valiant soul, and He will add those consolations which have been wanting to her in this world to her joys in the next. St. Martha was a saint,

God

told that she was a contemplative can we desire a happier fate than to imitate this holy soul, who was reckoned worthy of receiving our Saviour so many times into her house, of giving Him food, and waiting upon Him, even of sitting at

though we are not


one.

And

THE RECOMPENSE OF SACRIFICE


table with

267

Him, and eating out of the same dish? If she had been rapt in prayer like Magdalen there would have been no one to prepare His repasts. Well, my daughters, you should look upon Carmel as the house of Martha. Whether it is by prayer, mental or
.

vocal,

by waiting on your

sick sisters, or in

any of the

other offices of the house, however humble and low they may be, think that we are always and at all

times serving our Divine Guest who condescends to lodge and take rest under our roof." Teresa, in order to console her daughters in their trials, used sometimes With to confide her own past difficulties to them. what fresh courage her novices must have been in
spired when their holy mother owned to them that for fourteen years she had never been able to meditate without using a spiritual book! Our Lord did not, however, treat Teresa s children with the same severity. Prayer for them was nearly always a food of whose sweetness they were never satiated, and she had fre

quently

to

moderate their ardour

in

giving themselves

them the simplest subjects for their meditation, especially the words of the Gospels. The Paternoster was her special choice, she said, "there is always a great advantage to be derived for establishing one s prayer on the one which came from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. If our weakness were not so great, and our devotion so cold, we should never require any other method of prayer, or book of meditation." And joining example to precept, she then began her commentary on the Lord s Prayer, to each petition of which she attaches
up
to
it.

She used

to

recommend

to

"

for,"

a short meditation, simple, luminous, almost like those of the Divine Master Himself. Teresa identifies herself with the thoughts and desires of our Lord when Pie

taught His prayer to man.

She keeps

close to

His

268
side,

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


1

and she brings with her, to the feet of this not only her indulgent Teacher this Divine Friend
Carmelite children, but all those desirous of saying this First of all she teaches them what is prayer properly. the only right way of praying, which is to pray with She recommends great confidence. Jesus Himself. For the angels who surround the King of kings never turn anyone back, for they know that the sim plicity of the humblest suppliant, who would speak better if they knew more, pleases God infinitely more than great thoughts beautifully expressed by learned This book people who are wanting in humility." should be read in order to learn from the great con templative saint how the least of God s children, no less than the holy nun, can find food for their piety, consolation and encouragement in their needs, in the
"

Lord

would not have lived happily and attained sanctity under such direction as Teresa s ? She had the secret of making the life of prayer and recollection which was led by all, and was the very focus of the life at St. Joseph s, both easy and attractive. Joys of the heart went hand-in-hand with joys of the soul, in that little corner of the earth which was so visibly blessed by Heaven. Love of Jesus filled the existence, and was the breath of life, of these dwellers on Mount Carmel. The angels, saints, above all the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, came in for a share of their love. The nuns were bound to each other, and to their mother, by an affection which she returned with equal love a There was nothing truly solid and enduring one. in these or ties, earthly anything which recalled the The holy mother world, its sentiments or language. would have vigorously opposed all thnt threatened to

Who

Prayer.

THE SECRET OF SANCTITY


bring a

269

human element
"

into

affections
"

which she

desired to be wholly supernatural. Believe me," she tells them, those who love God above all things, and

men in Him, love their neighbours with a greater, a truer, and even a more ardent love than do the rest of the world for this alone is love.
all
"

Friendship thus understood lightened the labours,

and charmed the solitude of the monastery. Every thing, joys and sacrifices, work and suffering, was shared in common it was a true family life with all its opportunities of mutual devotion. At recreation time all assembled around their mother, and took their
;

turn

in

contributing

to

the

general

entertainment.

Teresa was the first to set an example, delighting the sisters with the genial wit of her conversation. She
attached
tion,

much importance

to these

moments

of relaxa

being convinced that prudence required that human nature should not be kept always on the stretch,

and that it was a necessary part of religious life to unbend at those times provided for by the Rule. What would become of our little house," she says on one occasion, if each one of us hid all the little wits
k
"

No one has too much Let each one whatever she has in her with all humility, in produce order to cheer up the others. Again, do not imitate those unfortunate people who the moment they have got a little good out of prayer shut themselves up and hardly dare to talk or breathe for fear it should fly away." The intercourse of the nuns with the world should be u I know better than short and rare. you do," Teresa tells them, the drawbacks of long conversations in the Trust my experience." She forbade her parlour. daughters, however, to show themselves ungrateful or discourteous. She excepted parents and brothers and sisters from the severe restrictions she placed on conshe possessed?
!
"

2jo

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

versations behind the grille, and she was desirous that these should have all the consolations in their troubles that could be given them. When, however, it was

necessary out of charity, or for any just reason, to

Teresa wished it done cheerfully. she be tongue-tied, my daughters, not," says, out of scrupulosity. Try to show yourselves as affable as is possible without offending God, and to conduct yourselves in such a manner in your interviews with worldly people that they may be attracted by your way of life, and that, instead of going away discouraged and disgusted, they may feel the charm and attraction of goodness." The saint would thus pursue the work she has begun in the oratory to the parlour. Having asked in prayer for the salvation of souls, she seeks it wherever she goes, attracting them by her amiability and kindness in order to give them to God. The same width of view s characterizes her at all times. Faithful to the Rule to a heroic degree, she yet sacrificed its observance in minor matters before a greater good. When such a case occurs she never hesitates she knows neither scruple nor indecision. She goes
receive a
"Do

visitor

"

straight wherever

God

greater glory, or the duty of

charity to her neighbour, calls her, and she wishes her daughters to unite, as she does, rectitude of judgment

with generosity in the practice of virtue. Rest assured," she says, "that God does not con
"

sider trifles.

Keep your

souls free from

little

anxieties

which have no

real foundation, but

which

will interfere

much

with your doing good.

Preserve an upright

intention, and a firm desire not to offend God, and then do not fear to allow yourselves a holy liberty of heart

and

Scrupulous fears, far from doing you cause you to fall into imperfections and stop good, the good you could do to others." There is nothing
spirit.
.
.
.

will

TERESA S ABSENCE OF SCRUPULOSITY

271

narrow, no constraint nor tediousness, in this summit of Carmel, however steep the ascent. The child of St.

Teresa in her little cell, behind her impenetrable grille, is no hapless prisoner weighed down by her chains. She is a joyous, a free soul, who sings with her sera phic mother the mercies of God, Whose beauty she contemplates from a nearer standpoint than the rest of the world. And if this blessed contemplation detaches her from worldly pleasures, it is only in order that she may keep her heart more open to a tenderness which embraces all human sufferings and sins, and
a vigour of character which will serve to fortify the weak, and bring back the wanderer to the feet of God. This is therefore the straight and simple road, austere and yet sweet, by which Teresa conducts her children to the heights of religious perfection. But whilst she

was thus descending to their level, and keeping step with them in order to permit of their following her, her soul was ever continuing its flight Godward, she
enjoyed almost habitually the sensible presence of our Lord, and His interior direction. She describes the divine familiarity of tiiis relation in which she stands to her adorable Spouse thus I saw that though God, He was man also, 1 and I could speak to Him as to a friend, though He is my Lord, because I do not consider Him as one of our earthly lords who affect a power they do not possess, and to whom only certain persons
"

O King of Glory, and Lord of all Thy speak. is not dignity hedged in by trifles of this kind. require no chamberlain to introduce us into Thy If our Lord hid Himself from her for a presence." the saint time, and sought to redouble her
may
!

We

humility

good works
1
"

in order to hasten

His return, and when


"

Puedo tratar como con amigo aunque es Senor

(Life, ch.

XXXVU. ).

272

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

that happy moment arrived how quickly it made amends for all the weariness His absence had occa

sioned To-day it is true I have been rejoicing" in our Lord, and have dared to complain of His Majesty. I said How is it, O my God, that it is not enough for Thee to detain me in this miserable life, and that I should have to bear with it for the love of Thee, and be willing to live where everything hinders me from enjoy
"

"

ing

Thy

transact business,

presence? where besides I must eat and sleep, and endure all these things for love of
it

Thee?

How is

am

with Thee,

Thou

then, that in the rare moments hidest Thyself from me?

when

How

is

Thy compassion ? How can that me endure this? I believe, O Lord, if it were possible for me to hide myself from Thee, as Thou hidest Thyself from me, such is Thy love that Thou wouldst not endure it ac my hands. But Thou art with me, and seest me always. O my Lord, look to
this consistent with

love

Thou

hast for

this,

beseech you

It

must not
so

be.

done

to

me who

love

Thee

much."

takes pleasure in such reproaches, re One Saturday, on fresh favours. the eve of Pentecost, the saint had retired, after having

Master,

Who
to

wrong is The good

sponded

them by
to

hermitage, and was employed of our Lord by Ludolph of Saxony. She was reading the meditation on the feast which was to be held the next day, and recognizing in herself the marks by which the author had laid down that the actions of the Holy Ghost might be discerned also remembering the dangers and vanities of her past life, the punishment of hell which had threatened her and contrasting this with the holy joys with which it was now transfigured, she was wholly overcome with a sense of gratitude to God for His mercies. At this moment she saw a Dove above her head, utterly unlike

communicated,

there in reading the

life

PENTECOSTAL JOYS
any she had ever seen

273

before. Its wings, which appeared to be made of rays of glory, were quietly agitated, and Teresa was conscious momentarily of a divine thrill. Then, ravished in God, she was aware of nothing more, remaining absorbed in her Sovereign

Good, with

whom

she was wholly united.

When

the

ecstasy passed away she was left with a sensible increase of love of God, and a greater strength for the Thus the feast of Pentecost passed practice of virtue. in the midst of a plenitude of heavenly joys.

she says, was so unwell that I might be excused from making my medita tion, so I took my beads that I might employ myself in vocal prayer. ... I remained but a few moments thus engaged, when I was rapt in spirit with such violence that I could make no resistance. It seemed to me that I was taken to and the first persons I saw there Heaven, were my father and my mother. I saw other things also, but the time was not longer than that in which the Ave Maria might be said." This vision was renewed several times, and on each occasion our Lord deigned to reveal secrets to her concerning His King dom. He said to her, "my daughter, "Behold," what they lose who are against Me do not fail to tell them of From the Heavenly abode, and the of saints, the Divine Master transported the assembly soul of His servant to the throne of His Divinity. He
"One
night,"
"I

thought

it."

penetrated her with the awe-struck love of the seraphim. Teresa, when approaching Holy Communion after wards, is confounded to the depths of her being at the

thought that He, of whose inexpressible greatness she has had a glimpse, should humble Himself under the appearance of a Host, and come to repose Him
self in the frail

heart of His creature.

were

to

follow.

More graces Sometimes they came under the

274

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
1

form of symbols of profound signification; at other times by the halo of a ray of supernatural light, it was in the words of St. given to her to understand how, in God, and how God Paul, all things are contained
lives
in

How God is truth, truth the faithful soul. in itself, and how all truths depend on this Truth, in the same way that all love depends on this Love, and on this Greatness. Finally, a wisdom all
is

greatness the Blessed imparted to her from the mystery of

Trinity,

which leaves her divinely


the marvels of
God."

consoled,"

and

"amazed at

And by an

infused

science which she draws from these contemplations she receives a great increase of knowledge of theo even greater increase of fervour logical truths, and an

and zeal. That God should be more and better known

that

that the spread He should be loved as the that of heresy should be arrested grace of forgive their and men ness for the sins of pardon from their

He

deserves

and expiation Judge should be obtained by prayer Teresa which these are the desires brought with These ecstasies. her of out came her to earth when she which and her consumed heart, were the fires which
:

she sought to kindle in the souls of her daughters, and all those whom she came across, or had power
to influence.

Proofs of the efficacy of her prayers were constantly 3 People came to her to recommend coming to light. sinners to her prayers, or to ask her to intercede for

from their first religious people who had fallen away or the dying or the for or to pray fervour sick, the last for Even benefits. for sometimes
; ;

temporal
cli.

though these appealed


1

to her less- she


2

had a ready

Life,

XL.
;

Ibid., ch. xxxix.

Ibid.

TERESA S APOSTLESHIP
sympathy, weakness which
"for,"

275

she says,
rejoices
at

"one

should

feel for

man

receiving succour in its 1 necessities." But on these occasions she had no assurance of being heard, unless the glory of God was involved therein. Human whether of

body, appealed to her more closely. On one occasion, a man suffering from violent pains no sooner came into the saint s presence than he was delivered from them. Another was cured from almost

mind

suffering,

or

complete blindness by her prayers. A few words of hers addressed to persons in trouble and affliction great

was the receiving unhoped-for blessings and consolation. But it was specially in the domain of men s souls that she wielded a great power, in her influence over the Heart of loving Jesus, for she could truly say, with Him, is not of "My
cause of
their

gave them strength

to bear their crosses, or

kingdom

example, by prayer, for the progress of the just and the conversion of sinners. Never, however, had these fervent intercessions produced such fruits as they had done since the time they issued from the solitude of St. Joseph s. Numberless conversions obtained in an extraordinary manner, and many more known to God

apostleship had begun with life itself. From the time when, as a child seven, she had led her brother to the siege of Heaven, never had she ceased preaching, by word and and
world."

this

Teresa

"of

above

all

alone

heroic

sacrifices

and

generous

resolutions
;

formed, which owed their inspiration to her a renewal of fervour in the case of priests and religious the deliverance of innumerable souls from purgatory: these were some of the answers to prayer, admitted even by Teresa herself, which the
;

signalized

tion

of

the

reformed
1

Mount Carmel.
of Perfection.

We

founda do not

Way

276

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

propose multiplying instances of this sort. The saint gives us an example by saying as little as possible about them, on the plea that such narratives are tedious. Also, in many cases, where the cures were moral ones, besides the recipients they were known
angels alone, and will only come to Teresa had a special leaning towards the Religious Orders, and frequently received these she sometimes lights in prayer regarding them communicated to those Orders at our Lord s desire, or kept them in her own heart, where they were made the subject of her prayers. 1 The Society of Jesus was ever the first object of her solicitude, and her Divine Master gave her great joy by revealing to her the glory of some of its members, and showing her the services they had rendered Him, or were to render Him in the course of ages. The sons of St. Dominic and St. Francis held an equal place in her esteem. The duty of gratitude obliged her frequently to recom mend the sons of St. Peter of Alcantara, and the Fathers Ibanez, Vincent Barron, and Garcia de Toledo, to God. The saint saw Fr. Ibanez enter Fleaven almost immediately after his death, which took place about this time our Lord rewarding him in this way for the assistance he had been to her in her Foundations.
to

God and His

light at the last day.

One day when Teresa was invoking the mercy of God on behalf of a woman threatened with an incur able disease, she feared that her own sins might stand in the way of her prayers being heard. Whilst she
was praying our Lord appeared to her, she says, "and began to show me the wound in His left hand with the other He drew out the great nail that was in nail He it, and it seemed to me that in drawing the The greatness of the pain was manitore the flesh.
;
1

Life,

cli.

XXX VII

I.

HISTORY OF TERESA S SOUL


fest,

277

was very much distressed thereat. He said He who had borne that for my sake would still more readily grant what I asked Him, and that I was not to have Fie any doubts on the subject. promised me that He would grant all I asked of Him, adding that He knew I should ask for nothing that was not for His glory, and that He would grant me what I was now praying for. Remember/ He saicl, even when you did not serve Me I granted you all, and even more than all, you asked of Me. How much more
and
I

to

me

that

I do it now that I am sure of your love." Frequently her Divine Master used to say to her," Now thou art Mine, and 1 am thine." l The history of a saint is, above all, the history of her soul. Thus if we interrogate Teresa upon what at this time was passing between her and her Divine Spouse, she answers as follows 2 seems as if our Lord had been pleased to bring me to a haven which, I trust in Flis Majesty, will be very secure. Now that I am out of the world with holy companions, few in number, I look down on the world as from a and great height, o o care very little what people say, or know about me. I think much more of one soul s advancement, even if it were but slight, than of all that people may say of me. He has made my life now a kind of sleep, for what I see seems to me to be seen as in a dream, nor have I any great sense of either pleasure or pain. If

shall

"It

anything happens
"

to occasion either, the

knowledge of

me dice su Mag-cstad muchas veces, mostrandome gran ores mia, y yo soy tuyo. Hence probably the origin of the following- leg-end, of which, however, the Bollandists deny the It is said Teresa met a most beautiful child one authenticity. day in the
Estas

amor:

Ya

"

cloisters,
first

yours,"

"am
-

Tell me and, astonished to meet him there, asked his name. was his reply. Teresa of Jesus." And he answered, Jesus of Teresa."
"
"

"

I,"

Life, ch. XL.

278
it

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

away and leaves an impression on me similar one made in a dream. Accordingly, if I wished after wards to delight in that pleasure, or to be sorry over that pain, it is not in my power to do so just as a
passes
to
;

sensible person feels neither pain nor pleasure in the Thus I have memory of a dream that has passed.
.

never had any real affliction since the day when I de cided on giving up my life to the service of my Divine Saviour and Master. If He sometimes allows me to suffer a little, He makes up for it in a manner that makes me feel I have no merit in asking for crosses. Without them it seems to me I could not endure life. How many times do I cry from the bottom of my soul, Lord, to suffer or to die this is all I ask of Thee. Whenever I hear a clock strike I rejoice at thinking that I am nearer to the hour when I shall see God, and have an hour less to spend on earth. May God take
:

me

to

Himself or give me the power of serving

Him."

CHAPTER

XVII

"THERESA, late in the autumn of 1566, was called to the parlour of St. Joseph s in order to speak 1
to the
l.-itely

Missionary Apostolic, Fr. Maldonado, who had returned from the West Indies. Encouraged by

s eager interest, Fr. Maldonado told in burn ing words the story of the ignorance and vices of the natives of those lands lamenting all the difficulties Teresa that stood in the way of their evangelization. was profoundly moved by the account, and when he had concluded, she invited the good missionary to go to the church, and there assembled the rest of the com munity in order that all might have the opportunity of The nuns were likewise deeply im hearing him. Fr. Maldonado s discourse, which turned on pressed by the fruits of repentance but Teresa most of all. After the priest s departure she had recourse to soli tude in a hermitage in the garden, and unable (as she herself says) to contain her feelings any longer, she cried aloud to her Divine Master, imploring of Him to

the saint

give her the

means

carried off so

of saving souls, many," and to make


"

"since

the devil
of her
to offer

some use
all
I

prayers for this object,


Him."

as they were

had

to pour out her soul to God thus for prayer many days. One night He appeared to her whilst she was praying, and manifesting His love to her, as if to console her, He said: "Wait a little while, my daughter, and great things shall be revealed to you."

Teresa continued

in

279

2So

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Six months elapsed before the divine promise was Teresa kept the words in her heart without The being able to understand their significance. means God intended to use for their execution never even crossed her imagination. She thought in build ing her little convent she had accomplished all Heaven s decrees in her regard, and wished for no other future for herself, or her nuns, than to live and die in obscurity within the four walls of the cloister.
fulfilled.

fied to

In the spring of the following year (1567) it was noti Teresa that Fr. John Baptist Rossi, General of the Order of Mount Carmel, had arrived in Castile
his

and was on

way

to Avila.

"

This was something

quite unusual," our saint remarks, "for the Generals of our Order always reside in Rome, and it was un

known for any of them to come to Spain." Teresa would have been not unwilling to dispense with this
she feared that Fr. Rossi might be opposed to the Foundation, and would use his authority to send her back to the Convent of the Incarnation. She
visit
;

trembled, therefore, in spite of her courage. To her community, however, she only said that they were to look upon the General as their father and directly she heard of his arrival she sent a very humbly-worded
;

request to him to ask him to visit her little house. Fr. Rossi did not keep her long awaiting his arrival. He entered the cloister, and directly Teresa saw him her fears were dispelled, for she saw she had to do with a true servant of God. Kneeling at his feet, she gave

him an account, in all frankness and simplicity, of the Far from origin and history of the Foundation. blaming her in any way, the General was enchanted at all she told him, and even more so when he had made a visitation of every part of the monastery. It was the living image of the first solitudes of Carmel

SPAIN IN NEED OF A REFORMER


another

281

grotto of Elias, consecrated to poverty, He shed austerity, and, at the same time, to holy joy. tears of consolation, and promised Teresa that he would never oblige her to leave her house of St. 1 He told her that his ardent desire was that Joseph.

germ of reform should grow up in the bosom of the Order, and spread through all its branches. The convent of St. Joseph, in fact, realized precisely the views which Fr. Rossi had come to Spain to advocate. Himself a fervent religious, he longed to apply the
this

decisions of the great Council, which

had so

lately

been held, to his own Order. With this object he sought to rouse attention to the ancient traditions of Mount Carmel amongst his brethren, though without requiring from them so searching a reform as the one Teresa had inaugurated. It was this mission which Philip II had imposed upon him when inviting him to his kingdom. This monarch, desirous of restoring discipline in the innumerable monasteries in Spain, had first addressed himself with this object to the secular clergy. Later on he invited the superiors of the Regular Orders to undertake the task. Pius V had just mounted the papal throne, and in February, 1566, he authorized Fr. Rossi by a Brief to undertake the much needed reform. Accordingly the General started at once for Madrid, where he was welcomed by the King he then proceeded to make a visitation of the houses of the Order in Andalusia, returning to
;

The February of the following year. Carmelites, many of whom were opposed to the reforms of their General, succeeded in turning Philip s mind against him in the interval, with the result that on this occasion he met with but a cold reception at
in

Madrid

court.

On

leaving Madrid Fr. Rossi went to Avila,


1

History of the Order, Vol.

Ill, ch. n.

282

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


1

where he held a Provincial Chapter, and where, with out abandoning his measures of reform, he succeeded in calming the opposition which he had raised. Under these circumstances the Father- General found much consolation from the peaceful retreat of the little
convent of St. allowed him a
it.

Joseph.

Whenever
s

moment

leisure

his occupation he had recourse to

The saint became the confidant of his anxieties. consulted her on the affairs of the Order and he never left her without an increased esteem for her enlightenment, and her force of character.

He

The somewhat
St.
s

delicate question of the jurisdiction of

Joseph had now to be considered. The General saw that there were strong reasons for putting it under the authority of the Ordinary, and on this point he submitted but he informed Teresa that as a professed nun of the Incarnation she remained under obedience to him. Teresa then showed him the papal Brief which Fr. Rossi, after dispensed her from this obedience. the found in its form, and some defect Brief, reading
;

maintained that with the double claim of Visitor Apostolic and General of her Order he had the right to resume his authority over her. The saint seeing that he was bent upon it, and reassured by the promises he gave her, fell in with his views. Bishop de Mendoza who loved Teresa as a daughter, when informed of the
change, was
Teresa,
factor.

much distressed this, in turn, afflicted who looked upon him as her greatest bene She used so much tact, however, in smoothing
;

matters over that she succeeded in restoring peace between the Bishop and the General. The former even asked Fr. Rossi to authorize him to found some monasteries of the primitive Observance for men on the same lines as the one Teresa had started for women.

But the General, fearing

that the project

would

raise

FR. ROSSI S
too

TASK

283

much opposition among members of the mitigated Rule, answered that the moment for doing so had not come. The saint tells us, however, that he gave her authority without her having asked for it to erect convents for nuns. These patents were dated the 27th of April, 1567, and contained severe censures
provincials who would oppose their execution. declared that the monasteries of Mother Teresa of Jesus were to hold their authority straight from the Generals of the Order, and that she was to have a right to establish them in any part of Castile,

on

all

They

without permission of anyone but the Ordinary of the


diocese. 1

After the Provincial Chapter had finished


Fr. Rossi returned to Madrid.
in discovering that

its

work
long-

Here he was not

he had been restored to the royal the favour, king manifesting his satisfaction to him for the profit the Order had derived from his visit to Spain. The Father-General took advantage of the favourable

and spoke

him in the Reform of St. Joseph s, him about the holy foundress. Philip II, much edified by what he heard, asked Fr. Rossi to recommend him and his family to her prayers and
to interest
to
2

moment

those of her
Fr.

community."

St.

Teresa, on receiving

Rossi

letter,

read

it

to her

daughters

and we

are told, in the annals of the Order, that henceforth the king had a special share in their prayers and their
suffrages.

Soon afterwards the General set off on his When he had got as far as Valencia he received an express letter from Teresa, which was
return to

Rome.

to lead to great results.

The

saint, after his departure,

on the importance of the request made to by the Bishop and refused by him, once more urged him to consent to the foundation of monasreflecting Fr. Rossi
1

History of the Order, Book

III, ch. n.

Boll.,

No. 400.

284
teries

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


of the

Reform

for

men.

The General could


;

refuse nothing to his dear daughter accordingly his answer was accompanied with authorizations for the foundation of two monasteries of friars of the primitive

Observance. The only condition annexed to the per mission was that they should be made with the consent of the provincial and his predecessor in office. This consent Mgr. de Mendoza undertook to obtain, and succeeded in doing so. Teresa thus found herself con fronted with an entirely new situation she was com missioned by Providence and authorized by her
:

men and women which was to strip thorny reform, a degenerate Carmel of all its and mitigations many of its abuses, was it in a it to found anew? not, sense, And to do this it was necessary to start houses, then to find subjects, and to train them to a life of penance and
superiors to found an

Order

for

for to carry out this

contemplation.

"

And

in

order to attain these

results,"

was only one discalced nun, us, armed with patents and good intentions, but without the smallest resources with which to start the work, or any support except from God." 1 Teresa knew well what her first Foundation had cost
tells
"

Teresa

there

her, in spite of

much help from her Dona Guiomar and de Salcedo in

friends in Avila,
particular.

But

these had already assisted her so generously that she hesitated at making fresh appeals to them. Also as soon as they heard of the new projects they were much dismayed, and did their utmost to dissuade her from

carrying them out.

All Teresa could expect from her

friends, therefore, was that they should abstain from active opposition. Adverse rumours were again cur

rent in

the town.

Thus Teresa found


1

herself once

more

face to face with similar difficulties to those she


Foundations.

A FRESH DEPARTURE
had encountered on her
that occasion.
first

285

Foundation, and with even less prospect of material support than she had had on
the grain Nevertheless the time was at hand when was to Avila of the soil of mustard seed sown in of the birds in branches whose become a great tree, heaven are lifted to who the air that is, chosen souls on the wings of contemplation should shelter also under whose shade the beasts of the earth, in other Our words sinners and infidels, should take refuge." the time this of from saint had a presentiment great She knew she ness of the mission entrusted to her.
"

had no time
sent

to lose.

The Master
in

of the

Household had

her out to apostolic field at an the day s work, is of the servant, weary age when her bad health, and With rest. for ask accustomed to the burthen of her fifty-two years upon her, she thought she had reached the evening of life. But she had received her orders, and she was ready to obey. She had to bid adieu to the dearly bought peace of the

work

the

convent of St. Joseph, to the little religious family, the sweet intimacy, all so dear to her heart, and to the Her life long hours of prayer and contemplation. henceforth would have to be spent in the world, taking She will be charge of affairs, treating with men. involved in endless work and an incessant correspond ence. This was to be the programme of her future We shall note whether, during this later existence. her ecstasies have enfeebled her powers period, whether mysticism has clouded or obscured her in or, finally, if mortification has dried up her telligence
; ;

heart.

The holy foundress began by casting her eyes round her to sec where she should first direct her footsteps.
J

Yepcs.

286

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

Medina del Campo, situated at a distance of twenty miles from Avila, its fertile environs watered by an affluent of the Douro, offered her more than one
attraction.

The

years in the city,

Jesuits had been settled twenty-five and Fr. Balthazar Alvarez had lately

been sent there as rector. The certainty of finding a firm support in that quarter decided the saint s choice. She wrote to Fr. Balthazar to acquaint him with her
that they

design, and he answered in the name of his colleagues would second her efforts to the best of their Teresa at once sent Fr. Julian d Avila, the power. excellent chaplain of the convent, to Medina, and com

missioned him to look out for a house, and to take measures to obtain the necessary authorization from the diocesan authorities, and magistrates of the town.

The
on,

saint, whilst these negotiations were being carried proceeded to set her house in order, so that

nothing should suffer from her absence at St. Joseph s. She appointed Sister Mary of St. Jerome to take her place, her previous charge of mistress of novices, and afterwards of sub-prioress, having given her to a
certain extent the necessary experience. She bought a neighbouring piece of land (a most urgent re

quirement,
size

Ribera

tells

us),

in

of the garden.
settled

In

short,

order to add to the before leaving Avila

she

her affairs on a thoroughly satisfactory

basis.

Fr. Julian met with considerable opposition from the authorities at Medina. He was called upon to prove not only that the penniless condition of the new

community

would not be prejudicial to the temporal good of the city, but that it would derive great spiritual benefit from the new Foundation. A testimonial was then got up in behalf of the Carmelites, which Fr. Baltasar and his colleagues were the first to sign. Some

THE SECOND FOUNDATION


and

287

magistrates of good standing followed their example, The next finally the permission was granted. I had not a thing to be done was to find a house.
"

penny,"

Teresa writes,

"with

which

to

buy

one!"

Her envoy was no


in

better off; but, like the saint, he

trusted in Providence. the

Accordingly he hired a house town next door to an Augustinian convent, signed the lease, and returned to Avila, in order to prepare to start a.gain with Teresa and her companions
for their

new abode. Shortly after Fr. Julian got back to Avila, a young girl of that town applied to the Carmelites to be taken The girl had already asked as a postulant to Medina. the at St. Joseph s, but novitiate for admission into the number being already complete, her application had been refused. Teresa now received her gladly, and the tiny dowry which she brought with her sufficed to cover the expenses of the journey, and to pay the
first

year

s rent.

Teresa had secured support in another quarter at Medina this was from the Carmelites of the mitigated Rule. Far from hiding her purpose from them, she had written direct to the prior of the monastery of St. Anne, Fr. Anthony de Heredia, asking him to try and find them a house. Fr. Anthony set to work with such good will, that he succeeded before long in buying one for her which was well situated, though in a bad an arrangement being concluded that, state of repair whilst Teresa and her companions lived provisionally in the hired house, the other should be made suitable
;

for their future occupation. The start from Avila was made

1567.

The

saint

on the I3th of August, assembled her daughters together;

embraced them, confided them to the care of Sister Mary of Jerome, and then, with much sorrow in her

288

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

heart, she betook herself to

the

one of the hermitages in and garden, prostrating there before a picture of the flagellation of our Lord she cried, My God, I confide this little monastery to Thy care since it was erected by Thine orders, deign to preserve it in the same fervour in which Thou seest it now." Teresa only took two nuns from St. Joseph s with her, though all would have been ready to follow her. These were Sisters Anne of the Angels, and Mary Baptist. Four nuns from the Incarnation who desired to embrace the Re form had been given permission by the Father-General
"

to

accompany

her.

They got

into

their

rickety

which carried their baggage, mounted his horse, and the party set out for Medina. The journey was made under the pitiless sun of a Spanish August, the so-called carriages pro gressing along rocky roads by a series of jerks and bounds. After a most fatiguing day they were met at Arevalo, where they had arranged to spend the night, by a messenger from Fr. Julian. He brought the worst pos sible news; no less than that the proprietor of the house which Fr. Julian had hired begged of the travellers to give up their journey, as it was impossible for him
carriages, Fr. Julian

the last of

to fulfil his contract, the Augustinians having objected to the Carmelites as neighbours. 1 "As these religious

are

my

friends,"

he added,

"

them
saint,

annoyance."
"in

When

this

do not wish to cause news was broken to the


"

of her courage, she was much upset by What was to be done? she must have asked herself, stranded as they were, six nuns without resources, or a roof over their heads,
spite,"

Fr. Julian remarks,


it."

in a
1

town where they were unknown.


"

To

return was

Fucnt.e

sistance,

remarks that the Augustinians were justified in their re and quotes from the canon law Monasteria puellarum
:

long-ius a monasteries monachorum

collocentur."

JOURNEY TO MEDINA

289

not to be thought of. There was a dozen reasons against it. Accordingly the party entered Arevalo, and dismounted at the house of some pious women.

Teresa watches and prays. O Lord she beseeches, this enterprise is Thine, not mine. If Thou wishest it carried out, Thou canst easily do it, if not, let it be ac 1 In order that her cording to Thine adorable will." nuns might have a good night s rest, Teresa kept the bad news from them till the following morning. For tunately Fr. Banez happened to be passing through Arevalo, so the saint sent at once to him to ask his advice. The Father consoled her by his assurances that all would end well but recommended her to wait till the present difficulties could be overcome. Whilst the saint was hesitating, wishing to proceed on account of
"
"

"

the following day being the feast of the Assumption, and yet not daring to do so, a visitor was announced.

This was the prior of St. Anne s, Fr. Anthony de Heredia. When Teresa had told him of her dilemma, the prior recommended her to go straight to the house he had purchased. "No doubt," he said, "the house it but is habitable. You can make a requires repairs, of the and then the convent can be chapel vestibule, founded without further delay." He also advised the
saint to divide her forces, so as to travel quicker and more quietly. Teresa agreed to his suggestions, left four of her nuns at Arevalo, and started once more with

She
cle

Fr. Julian and the rest of her little company for Medina. visited on her road the castle of Dona Maria

Heredia,

who had

sold to her, without purchase-

money
saint

or guarantee, the old house in Medina.

The

wished to show her gratitude by this visit, and Dona Maria was so pleased to see her that she pre sented her on the spot with some tapestries, and some
1

Julian d Avila.

2 9o

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

bed-hangings of blue damask belonging to the house When they reached Olmedo the saint Medina. stopped again to ask Bishop de Mendoza s blessing. The hour was already late, and the bishop offered a night s hospitality to the travellers, but Teresa asked permission to push on. At last, when it was close on
at

midnight, the carriages stopped at the gates of Medina, near the monastery of St. Anne, which was situated Fr. Julian ran to outside the walls of the town.
acquaint the fathers of their arrival, and had much Finally, difficulty in rousing them from their sleep. all that Anne was St. s from required having procured to start a chapel in the new convent, they started on foot (in order to make less noise) to traverse the town. The prior accompanied them with two of his religious the saint and her companion, Fr. Julian, and another
;

priest
"that

who helped

to carry the

luggage, completed the


Fr. Julian

procession.
off

"We

w ere
r

so

laden,"

says,

we might have been taken


and

the spoils of a church,

for gipsies carrying have been put into

Fortunately we met with no opposition on prison. our road." They hurried their footsteps, taking by ways to avoid the crowd which circulated in the streets

notwithstanding the lateness of the hour,


tion for the festivities of the following day.

in

prepara
bulls

The

destined for the fights next day were being driven through the streets another danger to avoid. Finally they reached a dark and dilapidated-looking house. This was the future monastery. The guardian was so sound asleep that it took a quarter of an hour s efforts and repeated knocks at the door to rouse him. It was

two in the morning before they effected an entrance. Teresa visited the building, and found it in a deplor able state. "Our dear Lord must have prevented Fr.

Anthony using

his

eyesight,"

she exclaimed,

"other-

THE FIRST MASS


!

291

wise he would never have said that such a ruinous abode was fit to receive the Blessed Sacrament Supported by her confidence in God, Teresa never dreamed of giving way to discouragement. It was necessary that the chapel should be prepared by day Assisted by break, so she would see that this was done. her nuns, she quickly removed the rubbish which littered the ground, swept the court, and cleaned the walls. The guardian brought out, according to the orders he had received, his mistress s fine tapestry and blue
"

damask hangings

but here another difficulty arose It was impossible to procure any at that time of night, so all they could do was to use a few which they found on the walls with these they nailed the hangings on the walls of the sanctuary and made all ready. Fr. Anthony prepared the altar, another friar hung the bell, Teresa s friends vying with each other in rendering her assistance. 1 The space, however, was so confined, the porch so dilapi dated, that in the obscurity of the night it was hard to see whether the chapel was in the house or the street. Suddenly Teresa remembered a formality which had to be observed this was to have a statement drawn up by a notary that the convent was authorized by the diocesan council. Fr. Anthony started off at once to interview the vicar-general, and Fr. Julian went in search of a notary. The act was drawn up all was and at break of ready, day a little bell of even more humble dimensions than the one at St. Joseph s rang for the Angelus, and for the first Mass. Teresa assisted at it with her daughters, hidden behind the door of the staircase. The little chapel was filled with
;
:

there were no nails

people, who flocked in from the neighbouring district at the sound of the bell, and who were astounded to
1

Julian d Avila.

292

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

find that a

The

new convent had been founded in the night. saint s soul was rapt in ecstasy all the time of Mass, rejoicing that the Blessed Sacrament should be
"

Trials awaited her on leaving the chapel. The darkness had prevented her realizing the state of the house; she was horrified at the sight of the crumbling walls which daylight re vealed to her. How could she allow her Divine Master to inhabit an abode so unworthy of Him ? The sense of discouragement which she had felt on the opening day at St. Joseph s again came over her. The

honoured

in

one more

church."

work having been accomplished God withdrew His protecting arm from His servant, lest its success should
be a peril to her, and allowed her to feel her natural she cried to Him, "Lord," frailty. how is it possible that Thou canst make use of such a broken reed Prayer before long calmed this in and abandoning herself and her daughters terior trial to God s good pleasure, she occupied herself, with her

weakness and
"

"

usual energy, in providing what was urgently required. First of all she made inquiries (this time through the Jesuits) for a hired house which she and the community could inhabit, till the necessary repairs could be
effected in their present abode.

above
night

all
I
;

passed days, and nights, of great anxiety," she relates. "Every engaged men to take it in turn to watch in the
"I

and even then I was not at ease. I was afraid they might be overcome with sleep. So much alarmed was I that I used to rise from time to time and look out of the window, where I could see by moonlight that
church
they were at their posts. The people, however, still continued to crowd the church. Instead of blaming us for what we had done, the good folk were moved to devotion at seeing our Lord inhabiting, so to speak, a
1

Foundations, ch.

III.

TERESA S ANXIETIES

293

stable once more, and His Divine Majesty, who seems never too weary of humbling Himself for our sakes, seemed in no hurry to leave
it."

The octave-day
saint s anxieties.

of the

On

that

Assumption put an end to our day a rich merchant of the

name of Bias de Medina, who owned a large house at the extreme end of the street in which the future monastery was situated, came to put the upper floor of his house at the Carmelites disposal. This floor he offered to make over to them for their exclusive use, whilst the workmen were employed in building up the ruined Teresa accepted the walls of their present abode.
and good man s hospitality with much gratitude she and her daughters were soon installed in his A gilded chamber was turned into the chapel house. thus the nuns were able to assist at Mass, recite divine office, and even keep the enclosure, as the merchant
;

if they had Teresa alone was immersed in business, but she was full of hope and therefore of cour Fr. Anthony did his best to repair his mistake by age. superintending the works in St. John s Street. A pious widow of the name of Dona Helena de Quiroga, who lived in the same street, watched the progress of

and

his family respected their presence as


visitors.

been angel

the

new building with

interest,

and wishing

to associate

by her alms in the new Foundation offered to build the chapel at her own expense. As an inter of Helena Dofia benefits, change begged the saint s for and Teresa herself her five children. prayers obtained many graces for her. Dona Helena had the
herself

happiness of seeing two of her sons priests, she gave her youngest daughter to the Order of Mount Carmel, her two remaining daughters lived saints lives in the world finally she herself, after overcoming great obstacles, became a Carmelite at Medina before Teresa s
;

294

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

own
it

death, and lived there fifteen years afterwards till her death. Other benefactors contributed their alms

new monastery, and towards the end of October was ready for occupation. Like the house at Avila, it was dedicated to St. Joseph. The good people at Medina were well disposed from the beginning to the new Foundation, and soon novices came to be received. Teresa passed several months at Medina, her time
to the

being wholly occupied with the spiritual training of her "follow in the foot "These," she says, steps of their sisters at Avila, and seek no other happi ness than that of rendering all the glory which they are
daughters.

capable of giving to their Heavenly Master." Meanwhile the saint had not lost sight of the other work which she had undertaken. The friendly relations between her and the monastery of St. Anne, of the
mitigated Rule, continued, and their prior was struck every time he visited the convent with the recollection and austerity of its inmates. Thus no sooner had Teresa acquainted him with her intention of founding two similar monasteries for men, than he at once promised to be one of the first to embrace the Reform. This was almost more than the saint was prepared for. She wished his support, would have been glad of his counsels, but could have dispensed with his person. She temporized, therefore, and gave him to understand that she did not take his proposition seriously. The prior was an excellent religious, pious and learned, and a lover of solitude but Teresa, in order to launch her
;

great undertaking, required a saint, and her knowledge of Fr. Anthony s character showed her that on certain
points he was not

up

to her standard.

Did she feel un

certain whether his constitution, which was a delicate 1 Or had she one, would stand the severity of the Rule P
1

Foundations, ch.

m.

A SON OF ELIAS

295

remarked a tenacity in clinging to his own opinions and a rigour in dealing with his subordinates, in her interviews with him, which made her doubtful whether We incline to he was fitted for so exceptional a post ? In any case the saint asked him to the latter opinion. put his resolutions to the test of time, and to await the
Fr. Anthony submitted, but he em course of events. braced from that moment the Rule of the Reform. God permitted that during the following year he should be come the butt of calumny, and even of grievous perse cution. He emerged from these trials greatly advanced in the path of perfection, and, as Teresa gladly recog nized, also much better disposed to carry out her The shadows we have pointed out in the designs. character of this great and holy man were more than
spirit of self-abnegation, and the intre of his faith, virtues which contributed greatly to pidity the extension of the Reform. true son of Elias, he

redeemed by his

Carmel of the Old but he was wanting in the suavity, the tenderness of heart, in short the unction of divine grace, which distinguished Teresa, and it \vas these virtues which were pre-eminently required for the leadership of the
belonged
to the purest

type of the

Law

Christian Carmel, the Carmel of our Saviour Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Thus Teresa accepted Fr. Anthony, though she had
neither asked for, nor desired, his services. Shortly afterwards she received a visit from Fr. Pedro de Orozco, an aged religious of the Order who was much revered
for his learning and piety. designs from Fr. Anthony,

Fie had heard of Teresa s and though too old to co operate with them personally he came to recommend to

the holy foundress a young religious whom he looked upon as perfectly fitted for the task. Teresa, in listen ing to Fr. Orozco, instantly felt a secret conviction that

296
this

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

that he

young man was the one she was in search of, and was intended to serve as the foundation-stone of the edifice of the Carmelite Reform. She asked that

he should be sent to her the following day, and spent night in prayer, wrestling with God, as was her wont, when she had some favour greatly at 1 heart, and which she desired to obtain from Him. The next day Fr. John of St. Mathias, as he was then
the whole
called, presented himself at the parlour. "The instant I saw him, the saint tells us, I was enchanted with his His the wisdom he showed in appearance." modesty,
"

which his very countenance ex and which pressed gave him an angelic look, his manners and even his child-like stature, delighted her. Fr. John, in answer to Teresa s questions, told her in a few words about his way of life, and the exercises of penance which he had embraced in order to approach more closely to the primitive Rule. He added that God had inspired him with an irresistible attraction for a life of solitude, and that he was about to respond to this (i call by joining the Carthusians. My father and my
his speech, the piety

the saint joyfully exclaimed, implore of you be patient and wait for awhile. You must give up your present idea, for a Reform is in contemplation in our own Order which will satisfy all your desires. If you will join in this great work, I will answer for your acquiring much grace by its means, arid in addition to this you will be rendering a great service to our Lady,
son,"
"I

to

the

Mother of

Carmel."

Fr.

and

John received the news with joy equal to Teresa s, promised her everything she asked on condition

that he should not have to wait too long. She was able to satisfy him on this point. Accordingly the holy

mother, having

now two
1

religious ready to carry out

History of the Order.

ST.

JOHN OF THE CROSS


as

297

the great work, already looked upon it complished fact, and could not thank God
1

an

ac

enough for having sent her such a treasure as this young priest. She recognized under his youthful and fragile ap
pearance, a great soul, much generosity of character, and a wide spirit and she used to call him playfully her little sage her Seneca. Later on, comparing his
;

diminutive height to Fr. Anthony s fine presence, she was wont to say, in joke, that she had had but a religious and a half wherewith to start the Reform of the Order of Carmel. Though she did not acknowledge it,doubtless she thought that herhalf-religious was alone worth a whole province. Teresa was as anxious to set to work as Fr. John was to follow her but she judged it wait to till Fr. s prudent Anthony year of trial was concluded. Also she had as yet no house ready for them and business of a pressing nature required her She therefore left her little presence elsewhere. Seneca" to pursue his studies for awhile, and theological
; ;
"

which

occupied herself with the two Carmelite Foundations, for some months she had been called upon to undertake. Don Bernardino de Mendoza, a brother of the

excellent Bishop of Avila, though a man of the world, and apparently not too exemplary in his habits, shared

sentiments about the Carmelites. He which he owned at Rio de Olmos, near Valladolid, with its gardens and vine The yard, for the foundation of the new convent. saint hesitated on account of the distance between his but touched by the generosity property and the town of the young man, and not wishing," she says, to disappoint his piety, nor deprive him of the merit of his good work," she ended by accepting his offer, postponing, only, taking possession to a favourable
the

bishop

offered Teresa a fine property

"

"

298

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


s

Scarcely had the saint agreed to Don Ber wishes when Dona Luisa de la Cerda arrived at Medina to beg of her to make a Foundation at Malagon, a little town on her property. This proposal was even less attractive to her than the former one, there being too few inhabitants in Malagon to support a monastery which was dependent on alms. Dona Luisa,

moment.

nardino

it

is

true,
;

had foreseen

this difficulty,

and promised

to

spite of her affection for her friend, to give in to her wishes.

endow it but an endowment was opposed vow of poverty, and the saint refused, in

to the strict

message from Dona Leonor de Mascarenas, former governess to Philip II, reached Teresa whilst she was
in

the midst of these


that
it

negotiations.
this great lady

It

will

be re

given her support at court to Mother Mary of Jesus, and who had afterwards made over to her a property at Alcala as a Foundation for a Carmelite monastery of the Reform. This Foundation was at this moment in a tottering
condition, owing to Mother Mary s pious imprudences, and Dona Leonor invited Teresa to go to Alcala to make some much needed changes in the way of life of the community, and to instruct the nuns in the true Mother Mary of Jesus, with great spirit of the Order.

membered

was

who had

humility, joined her entreaties to those of her illustrious Teresa, therefore, in spite of her own anxieties and her other important engagements, started at once
friend.

mattered to her whither she went was working in her Master s service. Don Bernardino, with his sister Dona Maria de Mendoza, accompanied her to Madrid. He profited by this journey (in consequence, one would be tempted to think, of a secret presentiment) to settle his affairs, and accord ingly made over to Teresa, on parting, a deed of gift of his property at Rio de Olmos. Rumours regarding
for Alcala.
Little
it

as long as she

MALAGON AND RIO DE OLMOS

299

our saint had preceded her, so that numbers of great ladies attached to the court came to make her acquaint some attracted by ance at Dona Leonor s house sentiments of piety, others from curiosity, hoping to see her in ecstasy, or to be witness of a miracle. Teresa received one and all with her accustomed amiability
; ;

and

eluding their attempts to draw her out, she talked of the beauty of the streets in Madrid, and such-like commonplaces. Her visitors withdrew, with
tactfully

their curiosity baffled. The greater that Mother Teresa was certainly
;

number
no

protested

saint,

though

doubtless an excellent nun report had endowed her with qualities which she was far from possessing. Teresa s humility had never gained her a greater triumph. The discalced Franciscan nuns of Madrid had greater discernment than the court ladies. Their prioress, a sister of St. Francis Borja, persuaded Teresa to spend a fortnight with them, and with this fervent community she might have given free vent to her piety. She preferred, however, to conceal her
spiritual gifts under the most ordinary appearances. This time she deceived no one, and her modesty and humility edified the nuns more than miracles would have done had she performed them. God be praised the prioress exclaimed after her departure, "for having allowed us to know such a saint. She ate and slept and behaved like the rest of the world, and yet she was a saint for her soul resembled that of her Divine Master in its humility, simplicity, and sincerity. She
"

amongst us as He lived amongst men, alarmingno one and consoling all hearts." Teresa was taken by Dona Leonor from Madrid to Alcala where she found Mother Mary weighed down by her excessive austerities and by the cares of her
lived
1
;
1

History of the Carmelite Older.

300
office.

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Pale and worn out, surrounded by daughters equally depressed by burdens whose weight she did not dare diminish, she hailed the saint as a messenger from Heaven. On Teresa s arrival she handed over to her the keys of office, and proceeded to disburthen her soul to her. How was it possible, she asked, that Teresa had succeeded in causing that perfect

who were

life which they had dreamed of together to flourish in her monasteries, whereas she could only produce ruined healths and vocations in hers? Teresa comforted her friend, and pointed out to her the drawbacks of a rigidity which sticks to the letter of the law, and ignores those lawful dispensations which are dictated by prudence and charity. She also explained to her the Constitutions she had drawn up for her Foundations, and above all impressed upon her that the spirit of Carmel was that of love and joy in self-sacrifice. The humble Mother Mary longed that all her daughters should profit by Teresa s instructions. Accordingly the saint regulated their penances and their hours of prayer, and cheered up every heart with her gentle gaiety, so that when she left Alcala, after a stay of two months and a half, she carried with her the blessings and gratitude of the whole community, as well as those of its foundress. Dona Luisa de la Cerda, meanwhile, had not aban doned her project of founding a Carmelite convent at Malagon, so she pursued Teresa with letters and the latter, passing through Toledo, stopped there to discuss the question. have already seen how
;

We

Teresa was especially told by our Lord Himself to found her monasteries in the strictest poverty, and how St. Peter of Alcantara had twice enforced this order. But it was impossible to found a convent at Malagon without endowment. What was she to do ? Was she

THE ENDOWMENT OF CONVENTS

301

to refuse God the glory He might acquire from a fervent convent of Carmel, or withdraw herself from a course of conduct which had been traced out for her
? Teresa had recourse her difficulty to Fr. Banez, and to other equally learned and pious theologians her great and humble soul ever placing the decisions of the Church and her ministers above her own private revelations. They answered in the words of the Council of Trent that it is considered advisable for the spiritual welfare of monasteries that they should possess some endowment, so that the extreme destitution of a community should You not give rise to worldly cares and relaxations. to accept would do well therefore," she was told, the endowment which has been offered you. Other wise you would appear to put your own inspirations before those of the Holy Ghost who presides over the deliberations of Councils." Teresa submitted in silence. "There is reason to think," Ribera informs us, that our Lord told Teresa to follow the advice of His servants, and in this we need not necessarily see any

by wholly supernatural means

in

"

"

"

contradiction,

for

God

providence

mended two

different courses of action to her

merely recom under the

which she was placed. If she had waited for an endowment in founding her first convent it would never have been founded. But later on, as her monasteries multiplied in number, it would have been difficult with their Rule, and rigorous en closure, to have subsisted entirely on alms. Experience proves that convents possessed of some endowment, and therefore not dependent on alms, are less exposed
different circumstances in

from exterior relations, and live in greater recol Thus," her biographer concludes, "though the absence of revenues was correct in principle, it
to suffer
lection.

was necessary

to

modify

it

afterwards in

practice."

302

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

having been thus solved to Dor.a Luisa s Teresa returned to Medina. She appointed satisfaction, a prioress and sub-prioress to the convent there, and, satisfied with the state in which she found the com
Difficulties

munity, returned shortly afterwards to Toledo, accom panied by four nuns whom she had sent for from Avila. Teresa was detained some days at Toledo by her friend, whose young cousin, Maria de Salazar, seized this opportunity of asserting her wish to follow God s call to a religious life. Doila Luisa gave her consent, and Maria was the first to be professed, under the name
of

Mary of The solemn

St. Joseph, at the monastery of Malagon. installation took place amidst the

rejoicing
clergy,

meet the nuns on their arrival. They were conducted first to the principal church, "where a sermon was preached,"
to

of the townspeople on Palm Sunday. followed by all the congregation, came

The

the saint relates,

"then

they took the Blessed Sacrament,

which was carried in great state, to the convent." Like the two preceding ones, the new Carmel was dedicated to St. Joseph. Teresa was only able to two at months spend Malagon. She suffered much whilst she was there from constant encroachments on the time she could give to prayer and solitude but to suffer for God became more and more the element in which she lived, as to work for Him became her only She left Malagon towards the end of May, repose. thanking God for her daughters fervour, especially of that of her young novice, who was already noted for her singular merit and piety. Unfortunately, Teresa s physical powers were not always equal to her mental activity. She wished to
;

hasten to Valladolid to

fulfil her engagements with Bernardino, engagements which his sudden death had invested with an almost sacred character. He had

Don

DEATH OF TERESA S BENEFACTOR

303

died without the last Sacraments, and Teresa, having been informed by a revelation of the double misfortune

which had befallen her benefactor


its

at the

occurrence, recommended his soul to ardour of her gratitude and her charity.
"

God
"

very time of with all the


Daughter,"

our Lord said to her, his salvation was in much danger but in consideration of the service he rendered My Mother by giving you his house in which to found a convent, I have shown compassion to him. Never theless, he will be detained in purgatory till the first
;

Mass

is

said in the
that

From

was carried

new convent." moment Teresa could not rest till the work out. She was separated at Malagon from
; ;

Valladolid by a distance of sixty miles she was wanted at Toledo, and anxiously awaited at Avila the roads were bad, the heat great, and means of transport were slow and inconvenient. She required all her strength
to surmount these obstacles, and, unfortunately, in addition to her usual infirmities, she was suffering from fever brought on by overwork. She refused to postpone her departure, but her illness increasing she

stop at Toledo, and there to submit to a of remedies, of which one was blood-letting. She accepted these trials with her usual patience, for the love of God. Dona Luisa was absent, but she had
to

had

course

orders that Teresa s wants should be provided for. Accordingly the saint writes a grateful letter to her friend, in which we can trace no sign of the trials
left

which were weighing on her. "The care you have lavished on me, dear lady," she says, "from the depths of Andalusia really fill me with admiration. Your people have done all they could for me, so that I am now well, though weak." Teresa was starting
the next day, but, in spite of weakness, she spent half the night writing. It was necessary for her to arrange

3 o4

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


affairs

with

Dona Luisa certain Malagon Foundation, such


she

connected with the

as the choice of a chaplain.

console Dona Luisa in her must not on any account add to them by thinking her friend will be laid up on the journey. The saint, in order to set her mind at rest, neither assures her that the journey though, alas will be nor coachman found could be safely carriage,

Also

must

needs

troubles, telling her she

I am carrying off, and Failing these, I trust you will approve," the saint adds gaily, saddle with a back to it which you have at the castle. As no one is making use of it, I feel sure you will be It will delighted that I should take it for the journey. at least be a pleasure to me to think I am making use of something belonging to you. Farewell, dear lady and friend I grieve to conclude my letter, and to think
"

accomplished.

"a

one whom I love so tenderly." Teresa passed Avila on her way to Valladolid. The same fervour met her at St. Joseph s, and a joy which was increased by her presence. Illness detained her here for nearly a month, during which time another
that
I

am going far from

Don Rafael important proposal was made to her. that de Mexia had learnt, I know not how, "she says, I wished to found a monastery of discalced Carmelites for men, and with this object he has offered me a house he possesses in a small village. This house had been used by an agent of his. I could guess the kind of dwelling it would be nevertheless I praised God, and thanked the gentleman warmly. He told me that the house lay on the road to Medina, so that I could visit it on my way to Valladolid." Teresa left Avila at the
"

"

end of June, very early


1

in the

morning, accompanied

This was one of the few occasions in which the saint rode. Her jour neys were always performed in shut carriages, in which she kept the Rule as strictly as she did in her convents.

DURUELO
by Sister Antonia of the Holy Ghost and

305
Fr. Julian.

search of the village indicated by Don Rafael, but no one could tell them where it was situated. At last, after a long day s journey in the

They went

in

burning sun, they reached, towards dusk, the tiny hamlet of Duruelo. The house was a miserable one, a porch, one bedroom, consisting, Teresa tells us, of a garret, and a kitchen, all more dirty than words could describe. This was the fine building, out of which we were to construct a monastery The saint, however, made her plans. The porch could be turned into a
"
"

chapel, the bedroom into a dormitory, and so on. Sister Antonia, notwithstanding her mortified

spirit,

and confidence
efforts

in her
it

holy mother, protested that no


habitable,

could make

and

in this Fr. Julian

Teresa, however, maintained her opinion, agreed. and would have spent the night there but the presence of a number of harvesters rendered this impossible. Our travellers, having no other shelter, took refuge in the church, and remained there till daybreak. It must be admitted," the saint remarks, "that, fatigued as we were, we had more need of sleep than of vigils." Teresa sent Fr. Julian the following day to Olmedo, to ask the Bishop of Avila for letters of recommenda tion for the Valladolid Foundation. Mgr. de Alvarez was deeply interested in this work on his brother s account, and in giving the necessary letters he charged his secretary to invoke the goodwill of the ecclesiastical administrator at Valladolid in favour of the Carmelites. Whilst these negotiations were going on, Teresa and Sister Antonia remained at Medina. As soon as Fr. Anthony and Fr. John heard of the saint s arrival, they hastened to see her. The holy mother described the monastery she had found for them without softening any details, and asked if they
;
"

306

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


to

had the courage


certainly

go there
our

for a time.

"God

will
"the

come

to

assistance,"

she

said;

important point is to make a beginning. Are you ready to go?" The fathers answered with a fervour equal to her own, that they were willing to shut them It was selves up in a stable for the love of God. that Fr. should Anthony arranged, therefore, resign his
office of prior into the hands of the provincial, and set his affairs in order ; and that Fr. John should follow

the saint to Valladolid, Rule of the Reform.

and learn from her own


"

lips the

Early in August Teresa left Medina. our Lord had said to her whilst she was
the soul

Make

haste,"
"

at prayer,

for

you will deliver is suffering grievously." Ac cordingly she made long stages on her journey in spite She was accompanied by Sister of the great heat.
Antonia, two nuns from Medina, and two more from

the Incarnation, as she relied on finding accommoda but more misfor tion in Don Bernardino s house tunes awaited her there. She found a large and fine
;

garden,
river.

but an unhealthy house at the edge of the

certainly lose their health in such a spot and, moreover, the house was uninhabitable till some indispensable repairs had been It was the Feast of St. Lawrence (August carried out.
;

Her poor daughters would

loth), and the Mass bell was ringing in a convent of Carmel of the mitigated Rule at the entrance of the town. Teresa began by taking her daughters there, and seeking at her Master s feet the light she required

for

her future guidance.

On

her return she set to

work to improvise cells and make all necessary changes, and before long monastic life was resumed, the cares and anxieties falling, as they always did, to her share. Fr. Julian was still making efforts to get his negotia
tions

carried

through.

The

vicar-general,

however,

BERNARDINO S RELEASE
;

307

could only hold out hopes he was awaiting the consent of a prelate of a neighbouring diocese who had juris diction over Valladolid. Sunday arrived, and Fr.
Julian was allowed, on that day only, to say Mass in the temporary chapel. I believed," the saint observes, that when our Lord promised me to deliver the soul of Don Bernardino at the first Mass, these words would
" "

apply to the Mass which should be said when the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in our church. But

moment of the Communion, when the priest me the sacred Host, Don Bernardino appeared gave
at the

at His side with his hands joined and his face radiant and shining. He thanked me for what I had done to get him out of purgatory, and I then saw him go up to
heaven."

Don Bernardino

appears

to

have kept up

his interest in the


sister

Dona
;

Carmelites
ill,

as he inspired his Maria with a truly maternal love for the and when some of the sisters were taken

new Foundation,

consequence of the unhealthiness of the site, she offered them a house in the town in exchange for that at Olmedo. this Moreover, generous benefactress took Teresa and her daughters to live with her whilst the house was being prepared for them, and even arranged that Fr. John should have a separate apartment in
tions

in

the neighbourhood, in order that the saint s instruc might not be interrupted.

stay with Dona Maria was prolonged and Teresa profited by the time of rest February, to occupy herself with her soul, her Foundations, her Gratitude and affection daughters, and her friends.
till

The Carmelites

have

never stirred the heart, or found

more

vivid

expression by the pen, of any human being than in the case of our saint. Witness the following letter to her old and faithful friend Don Francisco de Salcedo:

God

be praised that, having written seven or eight

308
letters

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

on indispensable matters, I have a moment left and to assure you of the consolation I receive from your letters. Do not think, I beg of you, that writing to me is time lost I can assure you I feel the want of them, but it is on con dition that you do not repeat so often that you are getting old, as that distresses me. Have young people any assurance of life either? I pray that God may preserve you till my death then once I get to Heaven
to recreate myself with you,
;

order not to be there without you, I shall do my best to get our Lord to take you as quickly as possible. What shall I say now about the six ducats you would give to see me? It is indeed a great deal, but I would give more (if I had it) for the In sober truth you pleasure of paying you a visit. are worth much more than I am. What is a little nun would worth, who has nothing in the world? think twice about her? But a gentleman who, besides all the good things and good drinks he gives us, can also supply us with radishes and lettuce out of his garden, and who, when he brings potatoes, will not employ any servant, I am told, but brings them himself, is worthy of much esteem. Apropos of drinks, I am told there are some excellent ones here, but as we have no Don Francisco de Salcedo, we have no idea how they taste, and are without hope of ever
that,

know

in

Who

learning."

Teresa was much preoccupied at this time by a per sonal matter. When she had written her first history of
life at Fr. Ibafiez s orders, it was with the intention of submitting it to Fr. John d Avila, a holy Doctor of the Church whom Spain honoured under the title of

her

at

the Apostle of Andalusia. the time but when


;

This wish was not fulfilled her second account was

Letters of St. Teresa, Vallaclolid, September, 1558.

THE SAINT S AUTOBIOGRAPHY


written
three or four

309

years later, it was destined d Avila s approval. When she John had finished it, therefore, she kept it till an occasion offered to send it to him. Dona Luisa de la Cerda s but her this opportunity to Andalusia journey gave that did not use much lady diligence in apparently her to become of task. She wished herself acquitting her care. with to the confided treasure acquainted Teresa reproaches her gently then she presses her finally, she conjures her to make haste over her com mission, and above all to hide this precious deposit. Remember," she says, "that it is in truth my soul
expressly for Fr.
; ; ; 1 *

which would

have placed

distress

me

your hands." She adds, greatly if he died before seeing


in
it

"

It

my

him at once, I beg of you, At last Dona Luisa per well-sealed, by express." formed her duty to Teresa s satisfaction, and the latter writes at once to her As for the book, you could not have done better, and I have instantly forgotten all my
manuscript.

Send

to

"

Fr. John anger against you, caused by your delays. d Avila has written to me at great length. He is this with for reward God pleased you everything.

good

work."

This great man s decision in her favour reassured our saint. When she heard of his death, which
occurred the following year, she expressed so much grief that her daughters asked her what made her mourn for one who probably at that moment was Nothing is more enjoying the happiness of Heaven. true," she replied, "than that at this moment he sees God nevertheless, I weep because the Church has lost
"

one of

its

pillars,

and many

souls,

mine amongst the

number, their guide and Meanwhile the works

support."

at the convent of Carmel at Valladolid progressed by the aid of Dona Maria de

3 io

THE
s

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

On the alms, and under her supervision. in there went the Carmelites 1569, all and followed the by procession, preceded by clergy the people, whose enthusiasm equalled that shown by
Mendoza
3rd of February,
the inhabitants of Malagon. The monastery, by Dona Maria s desire, was dedicated to the Conception of Our

only waited long enough at Malagon to her daughters there. She was happy at them in a a house community of excel leaving good lent nuns all trained to a religious life and, having appointed a prioress, she was able to give herself up to other works which then engaged her attention. To console Dona Maria, however, for her absence, she
establish
;

Lady. Teresa

called her niece Sister

Mary

Baptist to Valladolid, and

made her

sub-prioress.

CHAPTER

XVIII

FR.
priest,

of the Cross, having followed the saint to Valladolid, began his novitiate at once under her

JOHN

direction.

Assuredly

it

was a new thing


it

to see a
life

and a

religious, trained to the monastic

by a

woman.

Even more new and strange was

to see a

undertake with her disciple s concurrence the reform of an Order for men. But this can only be explained apart from the supernatural character of her mission by the astounding force of character of the 1 holy mother. An eminent ecclesiastic, after an interview with her, had said They told me she was a remark
"

woman

nothing of the sort. She is a man, To sum I have never met before." the of in Order discalced her share the foundation of up Carmelites, male and female, it might be said that the Carmelite nuns owed everything to their mother and The friars owed to her the idea and foundress. the Reform, the initiation in the arduous of inspiration
able
;

woman

it

is

and a man such as

enterprise, the spiritual training of their father St. John of the Cross, and finally the happy results of an
till the last day of her life over their monasteries. The trials of persecution and injustice which followed close on her death passed away, leaving the halo of martyrdom on her beloved sons, John and Gratian, but the saint s authority recovered all its power, and has never since lost it. Friars and
1

influence which she exerted

Fr. P.

Hernandez.

3i2

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

nuns of the Order of Carmel speak of her to this day with equal veneration and love as "our Mother" St. Teresa. Though she had therefore the greater share in the work of the Reform, she did not accomplish it alone. She performed it (as the Church s decrees set forth) Joanne adjutore ; and what concerns us now is to trace the formation of a saint in the school of a
saint.

John of the Cross was born in the poverty and life was so dear to him. His father, Gonzales de Yepes, though well born, had lost whatever fortune he possessed, and was reduced to gaining his livelihood as a weaver and his mother, Catherine Alvarez, was a simple peasant. John lost his father at an early age. Marvellous stories are told about his youthful piety and precocity, and on more than one occasion he was saved from imminent death by providential intervention. His pious and devoted mother gave him a good education, and at twenty-one he applied at the monastery of St. Anne at Medina for the habit of Mount Carmel. He was professed in 1564 at the age of twenty-three, and having showed great distinction in the schools, was sent to the university of Salamanca to finish his studies there. His life at Salamanca was divided between study and prayer, and as the day was not long enough to satisfy his fervour, he
St.

obscurity which through

gave up the greater part of the night to prayer. The account given by his biographers of his austerities seems almost incredible to the modern mind. read that he slept on faggots, and habitually wore a hair-shirt next to his skin, and an iron chain, bristling with rough

We

points,

round
be

his waist.

When
like
St.

him

to

ordained,

the moment came for Francis of Assisi he

alleged his unworthiness of this supreme dignity, and implored his superiors to pass him over, which, however,

ST.
they refused to do.

JOHN
He

PROBATION

313

Medina

del

Campo

to give his

of assisting at his first his theological studies, at the

then returned to his convent at mother the consolation Mass. Later on he resumed
university
at

which

he had already gained the highest honours by But his soul was intent order of his superiors. more on prayer than on learning, and it was at this time that he formed the project of joining the Carthu have seen how his interview with Teresa at sians. Medina led his thoughts into another channel. Whilst,

We

therefore, Fr. Anthony was arranging his affairs, and occupied with the necessary formalities for the Foundation at Duruelo, Teresa took Fr. John with

her to Valladolid,

"

in

order,"

as she says,

"

to instruct

him fundamentally on our Rule and usages. I spoke to him about the austerities in use with us, upon the frater nal charity which united us, the manner in which we spent our recreations where all is regulated in such a manner that those hours of meeting help to open our eyes to our own defects, and yet serve to unbend the mind so that it may afterwards work all the harder to keep the severity of the Rule. Fr. John was so holy that I had much more to learn from him than he had from me. But that was not the question for the moment. I only thought of instructing him in the way of life led by
our
nuns."
1

The holy mother did not spare her fervent novice. She wished to assure herself of the stability of his char
acter, to sound the depth of his incomparable humility, and to test him with a view to ascertaining whether he would be equal to the trials which awaited him in the

poverty and solitude of Duruelo. Fr. John came forth triumphantly from this severe probation, as \ve read in a confidential letter from Teresa to Don Francisco de
1

Foundations, ch.

VIII.

3H
Salcedo
:

THE
"

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
in

beg of you show every kindness

your

small in appearance, but, in my opinion, very great in the sight of God. He is a very wise man in spite of his youth, and it is impossible to doubt that the grace of God is with him. For though

power

to Fr. John.

He

is

we have been

tried in

many ways by all these affairs, and

myself have been on more than one occasion annoyed with him, yet we have never discovered the smallest fault in him. The saint finishes the portrait she draws of the young priest with one characteristic touch He is full of courage." Courage is what she always asks of her sons, as well as of her daughters. The Reform, she says, is a work of pain and difficulty without courage
1
"

and energy

it is

useless to

embark upon

it.

"As

for

Fr. John, he will require all the gifts God has conferred on him to go and start his new life alone at Duruelo."

Teresa accordingly judged her "half-religious" capable of beginning, alone, the Foundation but she was still met by one obstacle. It was indispensable that she should, in accordance with the patents granted her by the FatherGeneral, obtain permission from the late provincial of the Order as well as that of the one then in charge. Her recollections of the past did not inspire her with Ho\vever, great confidence in Fr. Angelo de Salazar. it so happened, God permitting, that Dona Maria de Mendoza was in a position of being able to render ser
;

vice to the late provincial in some other matter, and she accordingly used this power to obtain the authoriza

of Avila was excellent old an with Fr. Gonzales, man who occupied the position of provincial at that time, and to whom Teresa wrote in such forcible termsrepresenting the account he would have to give for good hindered, should he oppose it that he yielded at once to the bishop s request.
tion desired

by her

friend.

The Bishop

no

less successful

THE NEW CARMEL


At
a
able.
last Fr.

315

John started

young workman who was

for Duruelo, accompanied by to make the house habit

He
"

took with him the habit of the Reform

which Teresa had cut out and got ready with her own hands. Since, Mother Teresa," he said upon taking leave of her, you have had such a large share in the work I have undertaken, ask our Lord s grace and
"

I beg that you will give me benediction upon me. your blessing as well, and that you and our sisters will sustain me by your prayers." Teresa, touched almost to tears, promised in her own name, and in her daughters that they would recommend him each day and kneeling at his feet she, in turn, asked to God
;

his blessing. 1 Fr. John on arriving at

Duruelo made

it

follow out carefully the plans sketched by The porch was turned into a church, the garret into the choir, the bedroom was divided into two cells, which were so low and narrow that it was with difficulty that anyone could turn round in them. He made beds out of
straw, with stones for pillows, and having made a cross out of two bits of rough wood, he hung it, with a skull, The kitchen utensils consisted of two to the wall.

a duty to the saint.

broken pitchers which had been thrown away as un A trunk of a tree served as table in the serviceable. refectory, and a broken jug and two pieces of calabash
as a

and glasses. The night surprised him he had finished his work, or thought of his before
bottle

dinner.

The workman who accompanied him went


;

beg a few bits of bread and so the was charm of the saint s conversation, and great
into the village to

of his hard fare.


in prayer.

his kindness, that the man never thought of complaining Fr. John passed a part of the night

The

next morning he said Mass at day1

Foundations, ch. xin.

316

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

break, and then after blessing the habit of the Reform, which consisted of a tunic, and scapular of rough serge, and a narrow short cloak of white material, he assumed

humble garb with the same pride that a courtier might take in putting on his king s uniform. He resolved also to go barefoot instead of wearing the sandals, or alparagatas, which Teresa had adopted for herself and for her daughters, and which was the foot
the

gear of the Spanish poor. The inhabitants of the hamlet were at first astounded at this strange figure, but it was not long before he found his way to their hearts, and soon his hermitage became a place of pilgrimage for miles around. They assisted at his Mass, examined every corner of his little abode, and then, forming in a circle round him, used to ask him to speak to them about the love of God. Teresa followed the early beginnings of the young friar with a mother s interest, and praised God for them. Fr. Anthony came at the end of November to take the saint s orders he was in haste to join Fr. John and to take him the alms he had collected. The holy mother laughed heartily when she found
;

that
4

these

What on

alms consisted of five hour-glasses. earth will you do with so many hour
"I

glasses?"

she exclaimed. shall use them to mark the time, so that the hours of the community may be well kept," was his answer. Yes, but the hour-glasses
"

will be

no use in telling you the dinner hour, or the time to go to bed Fr. Anthony had not provided himself with more furniture than money. He had not even a mattress. He set out for Duruelo, however, as cheerfully as if he expected to reach heaven the same day his fifty-seven years and all his memories of the Scion of a great family, consecrated past forgotten to our Lady by a holy mother at ten years of age,
"

FR.

ANTHONY DE HEREDIA

317

a prior at twenty-six, and since then charged succes sively with the government of more than one monas tery, favoured also by the king, and enjoying a reputation of being a great preacher and a worthy his life till then had been wanting neither religious

His prudent friends in dignity nor in independence. advised him to take time and thought before definitely

embracing the Reform, but his fervour admitted of no


suspense or delay.

The day after his arrival at Duruelo was the first Sunday in Advent. Having said Mass he knelt with
at the foot of the altar, and both, in the God and His angels, and of our Lady the of presence of Carmel, solemnly renounced the mitigated Queen Rule, and vowed to live henceforth according to the

Fr.

John

primitive

Observance. Then, following the custom our saint, they adopted fresh names, by Fr. Anthony calling himself Anthony of Jesus, Fr.
introduced

John Mathias, that of John of the Cross, and a brother who had followed Fr. Anthony from Medina calling himself Joseph of Christ. Three months later circum dear little house stances enabled Teresa to visit her
"

at Duruelo."

u in Being in that neighbourhood," Teresa relates, the Lent of 1569, I stopped to see them. I arrived in the morning, and found Fr. Anthony, cheerful as
"

usual,
*

employed
is

in

sweeping
I

in front of the church.

exclaimed; where is now your A plague upon the time regard for appearances? when I used to trouble my head with such ideas, he answered, laughing. I then entered the chapel and
this
I

What

see?

was moved to tears when I saw the spirit of poverty with which our Lord had filled him. I was not the only one who was touched by it. Two friends of ours, merchants who had accompanied us from Medina del

3i8

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Campo, who went over the house with us, could not keep back their tears. There was nothing- to be seen
in
it

but crosses and deaths


little

heads.

shall

never

cross suspended near the holywater stoup on which a print of our Saviour had been pasted; this picture was of paper, but it inspired more
forget a

wooden

devotion than if it had been beautifully carved. The choir was the former garret, which was raised in the centre, so that the fathers could recite their office with tolerable ease, but they had to stoop in order to enter it. They had contrived to fit in two little hermitages in the angles of the choir on each side of the church, but they were so low that they could only sit or lie down in them, and then they almost touched the roof with their heads. The ground was so damp that it had to be covered with hay. I was told that instead of

going

to

these hermitages,

bed after Matins our fathers used to retire to and remain there till Prime, and

such was their recollection that when the snow fell upon them from holes in the roof they did not even so

much

as notice

it."

These pious excesses had the effect of alarming the holy mother. She was in favour of great austerity, but she would have wished to have seen it regulated by prudence. The fathers having consulted her on several points of the Rule, she gave them her advice, I "then, weak and imperfect as I am," she adds, thought it right to conjure them to moderate the severity of their penances. For, seeing the work so well
.
. .

started, I feared that the devil might urge the fathers to excessive austerities, injurious to their health, and

Such fears, as I have said, want As of perfection and little faith. came from my had those in I virtues which was v;anting, they they paid little attention to my words, and went on with
so bring
it

to nothing.

ST.

TERESA S FEARS AND HOPES


I

319

bade them farewell, and went away I had seen." Before following Teresa to Toledo (whither she was going), let us give one glance at the subsequent history of the discalced Order of Carmel. Speaking of this
their practices.

greatly consoled by what


1

What acts of thanksgiving I Reform the saint says owe to God on this matter, for to my thinking this was
"

a much greater favour than to be allowed to found convents for nuns Who realized better than she did that the flame of divine love, the spirit of prayer and
"

self-sacrifice,

burned no

less in the heart of the friar

than in that of the nun.


of
///>

Prayer was likewise the food


;

soul

but he was was his mission to leave his cell, and go forth to the world, where the austerity visible in his appearance, and the holiness of the life he led, added tenfold to the His vocation was to mix in the strength of his words. thickest of the fight, and bear himself as a valiant leader against the enemies of God and His Church. In the future he was to take part in the labours of the ministry in distant lands, as well as in the cities of

silence his strength, penance his armour an apostle as well as a contemplative. It

Christendom.
saint

Can we wonder
at

that the heart of the

such a prospect, for who the double of her sons as she vocation appreciated did? Henceforth she might console herself, for,

bounded with joy

though but a woman, and incapable of announcing God s truth to man, she was destined to be the mother of many generations who would continue this great work through the centuries with equal But the enterprise would succeed learning and zeal. at the cost of great suffering. She will have to suffer, as we shall read later on, from violent persecutions raised by the mitigated Order of Carmel against the
reformed.

She

will also

suffer

from the inflexibility

320

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


some
of

of character of

her

own

children.

These

are the shadows in a great picture shadows caused by a frailty which is never absent from human under takings, but which only causes the holiness and

beauty of
brilliance.

to

God s saints to shine out with greater In summing up the difficulties Teresa had encounter, we must also take into account the

advantages she was to enjoy. She built her Reform on a soil watered by the blood of martyrs. Spain had but lately emerged from the trials of Moorish
oppression, and at that time offered a splendid field anyone who knew how to capture its resources The in order to utilize them for the service of God. saint found no difficulty, therefore, in implanting the
to

primitive Rule in the Order of Carmel. penitential fervour of her children, as

The zeal and we have seen,

went far beyond her expectations, or even her desires. Other monastic virtues were practised with equal Excess, want of discretion, were the defects fidelity. Teresa saw in these early leaders of the Reform. She
fought long against the dangers she foresaw in this direction, but it would have been an easier task to make martyrs out of these fiery Castilians than meek and submissive men. St. John of the Cross was ever to be her chief hope and consolation in these trials. She was also to find support later on in Fr. Jerome Gratian, her last spiritual director, and her wellIn Fr. Anthony she also found a beloved son. valuable auxiliary. Many others were of the utmost assistance to her, and though not all were perfect, she saw so much good in all, that she was still, wont to thank God till her latest day for the helpers she had found for her great work of Reform and to say that she had no greater desire than that it should
;

preserve the fervour of

its first

members.

AUXILIARIES OF THE REFORM


The monastery
of

321

Duruelo was transferred the follow Manzera, Don Luis de Toledo, a wealthy nobleman, having offered them a house and church there. The fathers continued to lead the same penitential lives at Manzera that they had previously done at Duruelo, preaching in the neighbouring hamlets wherever spiritual succour was needed, and walking great distances barefoot, even in the depths of winter, through snow and ice, to instruct children and Their days were spent carry consolation to the sick. in preaching and hearing confessions. They only
ing year to the village of
nightfall to the monastery in order to The recitation of the partake of their frugal meal. divine office occupied a great part of the night, and the early mornings were given up to prayer.

returned at

Novices,

who came

to

them

handed over

to the care of Fr.

in great numbers, were John of the Cross. The

Foundation at Pastrana took place in the year and the noviceship was transferred there shortly
wards.

1571, after

CHAPTER XIX
She visited the monasteries of del Campo and Duruelo on her way, spent some days at St. Joseph s, Avila, and started again on
February, 1569.
the
1 5th of March, taking with her two nuns from the mentioned house, and accompanied by a firm friend of the Reform, Don Gonzalez d Aranda. Her chaplain, Fr. Julian d Avila, had been detained by business

1 Medina

^ERESA

set

out

for

Toledo

on

the

2ist

of

last

at Valladolid.

The journey was a lengthy one, as they had to go out of the direct route in order to reach Madrid, where Teresa was awaited by Princess Juana, a sister of Philip It was II, who had asked for an interview \vith her. accomplished, like the other journeys which she was constantly undertaking, in such a manner as to inter fere as little as possible with the exercises of religious and the life of prayer habitually led by her. life, St. Gregory of Nyssa, when travelling with his com panions through the deserts of Arabia to the sounds
of psalms

and canticles of

praise, said that his chariot

It was the same served him as church and monastery. the interior of her with Teresa and her daughters humble coach, or litter, was for the time a convent. She carried holy water with her, a statue of the Infant Jesus, and a bell to ring when the time came for An hour-glass prayer, divine office, or silence. measured the time. As soon as the bell rang, the saint s companions, whether religious or secular, ceased It was an amusing sight to wittheir conversations.
;

322

TERESA S JOURNEYS
ness the rejoicings of the
bell

323

latter, Ribera remarks, when announce the end of silence and Teresa would sometimes reward them for keeping it well with little gifts, or an addition to their modest

the

rang

to

fare.

in the inns. The nuns on descending from their coaches covered their faces with their veils, and shut themselves up together in one room, a nun being stationed at the door as portress

The nights were spent

praise acts of Him, On one occasion she com resignation to His Will. posed a hymn, in which she recalled the journey of Moses through the desert, and the travels of the Divine Master on the road of penance and The poverty. refrain was as follows
:

strengthen proportion with the distractions which multiplied outside her. Her words and looks, the expression of her countenance, seemed to say at all moments to her daughters: God is present. The incidents of the journey whether it was a river they had to ford, a mountain which they had to climb on foot, a beautiful view, a sunset, a storm, even the dust and incon veniences of travel served as occasions for her to raise her soul to God in of or in
in

to receive communications, so that the recollection of the rest had not to be disturbed for every trifling occurence. Teresa watched over everything, was the first to rise to waken her daughters, the last to seek repose. The priest who accompanied them said Mass every day, and the nuns communicated on the days appointed by the Rule. Their holy mother kept their fervour alive by her example and her words. The sense of the prosence of God in her soul appeared to

Caminemos para
Monjas
1

el cielo del Carmelo. 1

Nuns

of Carmcl

Onwards march

to

Heaven.

324

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


travel with

To

Teresa was indeed a joy

so that, in

spite of the hardships which attended each Foundation, the nuns whom she chose for this office looked upon

as a favour of which they deemed themselves un worthy. She carried alone the weight of the sacrifices
it

which these undertakings involved, and whilst she was nourishing the souls of her companions, and watching over them with a mother s care, her own soul was harassed by business of every kind, and she was sigh ing for the solitude of her little cell at Avila, and asking God when it would please Him to recall her there, and leave her to peace and recollection. One day when this desire was pressing heavily on
her,

our Saviour found fault with her for


said, "understand this, that

it.

"Daughter,"

merit does not consist in enjoying great consolation in prayer, but in doing My will." Only a short time previously her Divine Master had explained what was His will in her regard. "It is not time now for you to take your rest," He had said to her whilst she was making her thanks
giving,
"but

He

to hasten to

which
there."

I
1

may

take

My

found more monasteries in repose in the souls which shelter

Teresa, as she had been heard to say with holy pride, to know the Will of God was to obey it, in spite of every obstacle which could be thrown in her way. Her path was sown with hardships and obstacles in every fresh undertaking, and these she encountered with the same calm serenity as she did the applause which followed these achievements when her

With

had been crowned with success. Teresa, on her arrival in Toledo, was received by Dona Luisa de la Cerdawith her usual cordiality; but having
efforts

already endowed the convent at Malagon, that lady


1

made

Relation of St. Teresa,

III.

FOUNDATION AT TOLEDO
The

325

her no offer of assistance in her new enterprise at Toledo. saint, who was averse to importuning anyone,

especially one

who had

on her, had recourse


of Toledo, with

to

whom

already conferred great benefits Alonso Ramirez, a merchant she had already been in corre

spondence with a view to the proposed Foundation. Alonso Ramirez, in pressing Teresa to build a con vent at Toledo, was following out the wishes of his brother Martin, who six months previously had on his death-bed laid this injunction upon him. She found a good friend in Alonso, but unfortunately he was much under the influence of his son-in-law, Diego The latter was Ortiz, who was less easy to deal with. a man of property, \vith literary tastes and a turn for The theology, and much wedded to his own opinions. result was that his stipulations for the Foundation were quite inadmissible, and Teresa left him in despair, being unable, as she says herself, to bring him to reason. Whilst waiting to come to terms with Ramirez and Ortiz, the saint set to work to find a temporary abode, and also to get tiie necessary authorizations from Don Gomez Tello Giron, who governed the
Archiepiscopal see being by a refusal, and, to her Alonso was induced by his complete misfortunes, son-in-law to withdraw his promise of assistance. What was to be done? Struggle on, suffer, endure wearisome delays, or retreat? Teresa never hesitated, for were not the interests of God involved? Accord ingly she set to work to overcome the greatest obstacle by gaining the consent of Don Gomez. In this she was helped by Dona Luisa and other influential friends, but the Governor showed no signs of yielding. Finally, Teresa asked an audience of him at a neighbouring church. Don Gomez consented, and as soon as the
vacant.

diocese

at

that time,

the
at

She was met

first

326
saint

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


saw him she went straight up
to

him

u
:

My

she said, "here have I been waiting for over lord," two months, not in order to take my pleasure in your town, but in order to seek God s glory in it, and the

good

of souls.

It

of the authority in

would have been worthy of you, and which you are invested, to protect

poor women who only ask to lead penitential lives. Truly it is hard to find no one who will support us, but to see, on the contrary, that those who live for their

own

pleasure seek to put

obstacles

in

work so

we have and by going away taking up our abode elsewhere, but you will have to answer before the judgment seat of God for the loss sustained in this town, if you do not cease struggling against a work of God, and one which you are bound to support." Don Gomez, far from resenting Teresa s plain lan guage, was so much struck by it that he granted her the necessary license at once, on condition that the convent should have neither endowment, patron, nor The saint willingly consented. She had founder.
pleasing to God. nothing to lose
this,

Know

my

lord, that

but three ducats in the house, but money with her Teresa never counted for anything in her difficulties. and three ducats," she said, "are good for nothing. But God, Teresa, and three ducats can do all things." It was on these principles that the saint founded the convent of Toledo. More disappointments were in store for her. A merchant came to her assistance, But and undertook to provide her with a house. re ill. Teresa he taken could do he was so before doubled her prayers, but it appeared as if God wished One day, to try her even at the very foot of the altar. when she was making her thanksgiving after Mass, a peasant woman attacked her by showering blows upon her head with her wooden clogs. Teresa, roused
"

TRIALS AND DELAYS

327

from her prayers, looked at her without even remon strating, and then, turning to her two companions who rushed to her defence, remarked with a smile
:
"

May God

forgive the

good woman

had quite

enough pain in my head already." The explanation was simple. The poor woman had lost one of her shoes, and seeing the poverty of the saint s garments,
took her for the thief. After this adventure Teresa might have had reason to distrust another encounter, which took place shortly A poor youth of afterwards in the same church.

modest but unattractive appearance came up to the and put himself at her service, explaining that his confessor had told him to help her in any way in his power. Teresa appears to have been puzzled to know what she could do with him. "Andrado,"
saint

she says, "had nothing in his appearance suggestive of his being of any use to Carmelite nuns." Never theless she thanked him graciously, and to please him took his address. She and her daughters amused

themselves

recollection of the them. Still, an sent grand protector instinct told her that the young man had not been sent her by a holy religious without a secret design

afterwards

with

the

who had been

Her daughters continued to make about Andrado, but without paying attention jokes to them Teresa sent for him and asked him to find them a house. Nothing was more easy, he declared and the following day, the i3th of May, whilst Teresa
of

Providence.

was

assisting at Mass, Andrado came in search of her, told her that he had found a house, and presented her

with the keys, so that she might ascertain at once if it were suitable for her purpose. Teresa was enchanted. Praised be God!" she cried; here have the rich people of Toledo been looking about for a house for
4
"

328

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

us for three months, and never found one, any more than if there had not been a house in the city. This

young man appears, who had nothing to recommend him but his poverty, and God so arranges that he finds one at once." Andrado then offered to help the nuns As to transport their furniture to their new abode. it will to that, my good Andrado," answered Teresa,
"
"

not take you long


the furniture

two mattresses and a

quilt is all

we

possess."

Teresa with her three ducats bought two


for the chapel,

little

and paid

for her mattresses.

pictures One of

Dona Luisa

s ladies,

who seems

to

have better realized

the state of Teresa s affairs than her mistress, offered her on parting a loan of a hundred reals. This sum
that our saint took with her to her new abode, enabled her to employ some workmen to make ready the chapel, the same night, for Mass on the following day. An altar was improvised, and decorated with a few ornaments borrowed from a neighbouring church. One difficulty remained it had no door open It was found necessary to make an to the public. entrance through the wall of a neighbouring cottage. More difficulties presented themselves. Finally, Teresa was successful in appeasing the wrath of the neigh Peace was bours by promising indemnification. The restored, and all was ready when morning came. prior of the monastery of Carrnel celebrated Mass.

was and

all
it

Each successive Foundation was marked by a progress The bell which weighed poverty and humility. three pounds at St. Joseph s was replaced here by a Its little tinkle attracted some passerssacristy bell. by, amongst whom was a little child, who called out
in
"

loudly,
"

God

be praised, what a fine


"Yes,

sight!"

was much touched.


let

my

daughters,"

Teresa she said,

us praise God.

If

we had only gained

this praise

THE INSTALLATION AT TOLEDO


to

329

God which has just come from the lips of this little angel, we should be well recompensed for all our The news of the Carmelite Foundation was trouble."
and wide. It is said that a great town had been prophesied, and its Many accomplishment was expected on that day. had been to confession and prepared for death as if the end of the world were at hand. When instead of the destruction of the town they heard that a new monastery of Mother Teresa s Reform was founded, 1 they gave thanks to God. Troubles soon recommenced. The council, in the Governor s absence and unaware of his permission, were indignant at Teresa s audacity in opening her chapel, and refused permission for Mass to be cele
soon spread
far

disaster to the

The saint submitted with brated a second time in it. her usual meekness. Don Manrique, however, took her cause in hand, and laid the patents before the council by which Teresa was authorized to found monasteries in any part of Castile. A Dominican friar, a friend
of the

Governor

s,

made himself responsible


r

for

the

promise given by the latter. By degrees matters settled down, and the Carmelites were allow ed to live and pray in peace. Their poverty did not cease so for months they were left wholly without quickly
;

blanket was still all the bedclothes they possessed. At night the two young nuns spread it on their mother s bed, assuring her that with her it was impossible for her to dispense fifty-five years with a covering, and contented themselves with their choir mantles. One night, noticing that Teresa was in an shivering ague-fit, they covered her up with their mantles as well. Teresa, not perceiving what they
resources.

One

had done, and

still
1

shivering, remarked,
Hist, of the Order.

"

My

daugh-

330
ters,

THE
I

LIFE OF SAINT
me some
cold."

TERESA
blankets to cover
mother,"

could you not give


feel
"

me?

so

"Alas!

reverend

they

any more, for you have got all the warm clothes of the monastery upon you." The saint could not refrain from laughing, and used often
answered,
for

do not ask

to tell this story against herself in after days.

a par with the furnishings. One an on a another had divided to be clay sardine, egg, into three. On one occasion, when there was no wood in the house, a faggot was deposited by an unknown hand in the chapel. They had to borrow a pot in order to boil the water the salt had to be ground with a stone. They had no lights in fact they had
;

The food was on

was a cause of intense joy to them. Teresa gives us an account of the privations they endured, in order to to praise God for the generosity of her daughters complain of anyone does not enter into her head. On the contrary, she seeks to excuse her dear friend who allowed her to suffer want within a hundred yards of her palace. "God permitted she says, "in order to acquaint us by experience with the sweetness of It is impossible to explain otherwise what poverty. happened, for this great lady was very fond of me, and had always treated me very generously. But I asked nothing from her, for I could not endure being a trouble to her, and luckily for us she never discovered our utter destitution. found such interior con solation and joy in this poverty that I can never think of it without admiring the manner in which God has hidden all true riches in the practice of these
nothing, absolutely nothing, and
this poverty
;

it,"

We

virtues."

God having thus tried the courage of His servants showed that He was watching over their Foundation. Alonso Ramirez, who had not ceased regretting the

DESTITUTION OF THE COMMUNITY


way our
saint

331

had been treated, persuaded his son-inlaw to be more conciliatory, and himself sent them Teresa received them with as much sad large alms. ness as if she had been robbed of a treasure, and her 1 She more than daughters partook of her regrets. with her love did not accord which once refused gifts to join the wished a who novice When of poverty. her furniture sent beforehand, Teresa re community turned it, saying that if she filled the convent with her tables and chairs there woulc} be no room for her
in
it.

Alonso Ramirez, besides his own personal the monastery, wished to carry out his brother

gifts to
s

inten

The monastery had, however, tions with regard to it. been started without his concurrence, and on condi tions stipulated for by the Governor it was therefore
;

impossible for Teresa to confer the title of founder on him. She, however, proposed to allow the Ramirez family to build the chapel attached to the future monas Martin tery, in which the Masses founded by the late

Ramirez should be said in perpctito. Fresh obstacles intervened, this time from the aristocracy of Toledo. A personage of high rank having made a similar offer to Teresa was indignant at being passed over on account
of the claims of a simple merchant.
for this opposition.
"
"

Teresa cared
God,"

little

she exclaims, I have ever put virtue above rank." Nevertheless, the Ramirez family now put forward a claim to the Assailed by all right of sepulture in their chapel.
to

Thanks be

these conflicting appeals and by contradictory advice, Tell me," Teresa had recourse to our Lord in prayer.
"

she implored,
received was:

"what

am
!

to

do?"

The answer she

"What folly,

about worldly vanities


1

My daughter, to trouble Cast your eyes upon Me.

Foundations^ ch. xv.

332

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


My
!

Behold
world

Do you J

poverty and how I was despised by the think the o great ones of this world are

great in My sight? And you, is it by your titles or your merits you will be judged? Ah, My daughter, what attention will be paid at the last day to pedigrees

and possessions ?
Teresa
relates.

"

"

This rebuke confused

me

utterly,"

resolved to conclude my arrange ments with Alonso Ramirez, and to allow him to and I had no reason to regret it, as build the chapel by reason of his help we were able to buy one of the
I
;

best houses in

Toledo."

The Carmelites were unable to to this new house before April,

transfer their

abode

some nuns from Malagon to She also received, at their own request, some nuns from the Convent of the Incarnation. Only one of
these persevered, the others renouncing afier a short trial a life to which they were unsuited, and the severity

Teresa took 1590. the new Foundation.

which was beyond their strength. The holy mother, enlightened by experience, later on added a clause to her Constitutions whereby admission Avas refused to nuns coming from any other Order, including that of
of

the mitigation. Teresa received

who One
sion

consolation from the novices presented themselves at the convent at Toledo. of these she had objected to, though her admis

much

pecuniary point of view would have benefited the community, on account of her delicate In spite of health she was also forty years of age. did hide from her, not which Teresa these misgivings, the novice made over all her fortune to the Foundation some months before her profession. When the saint asked her what she should do at her age, if, in con sequence of her generosity, she was left penniless, the

from

Foundations.

AN UNREASONABLE BENEFACTOR
answer she received was:
the love of
God."
"I

333

shall

Her

fervent: desires
;

beg my bread for were heard, and

she received her recompense for her health improved in spite of the austerity of her new life, and she lived for many years afterwards to edify her sisters in
religion.
to take pleasure for long in the to her of fervour daughters of Toledo. She was called time this at care her which Foundations other required but her journeys often recalled her to their midst, and

Teresa was not able

whether absent or present she was ever occupied with Few other Foundations gave her more their welfare.
cause of anxiety.

Diego Ortiz continued to show the and same obstinacy, pious greed that he had done from At one time he stipulated for sung the beginning. Masses at another he desired that the hour of vespers
;

should be altered. incompatible with

the

Again, he asked for other things Teresa main Constitutions.

tained her rights with firmness, and yet with a tact which her position with regard to Ortiz, and her obliga tions to him, rendered absolutely necessary. On one occasion, after receiving a letter from Ortiz written in his usual rapacious style, she sends him the You do me so much following charming reply: in writing to me, dear such show and charity favour, letter had contained severer that even if
"

sir,

your

remarks
reasons

should have received


are

it

with gratitude.

The

you give them so strongly, that I have nothing to do not wish, therefore, to allege reasons. I them. But like one whose case is weak I wish to seek pro tection by asking for an arbiter, and I desire no one
It is a consolation to else but yourself for that post. me to believe that we could not do anything more

so

powerful,

and

you put urge against

advantageous than

to place our interests in

your hands

334

THE

LIFE OF SAINT
Seiior

TERESA

and those of

Ramirez.

Will you then be so

good as to decide after consulting with him ? I shall never be displeased with any letter \ receive from you,
as
1

know

\v

ith

what good intention

it is

written.

Only

one thing would pain me, and that is to cause you any pain or that my daughters should be the cause of any 1 pain to you." By degrees difficulties were smoothed Ortiz found it Diego impossible to hold out against such tact and amiability. As for his father-in-law, nothing could shake his feelings of veneration for the
;

saint, tion.

and her
"

letters to

him are
"

full

of grateful affec

preserve your health, dear sir," she writes on one occasion, so that you may live to enjoy the church, which I am told is going to be so fine.
.
.

May God

think of you, and how often I bless you, remembering that with you a promise made even in I jest one may look upon as good as accomplished. our Divine Master to for pray preserve you long years,
often
I

How

you again, for embrace in spirit your little angels, and pray that they may become great saints." The tact and firmness which Teresa showed in the above correspondence were no less needed for the Foundation which followed closely on that of Toledo. Much remained to be done after the Carmelites had moved into their new house. was necessary,"
grant
I

and

to

me

the pleasure of seeing


I

love you in

Him.

"It

Teresa writes, arrange the church, put up the convent grille, and get things in order. found much to do, and I was looking after workmen from morning to night. At last, on the eve of WhitSunday, all was finished, and on the day of the feast,
"to

We

when

I went into the refectory to dinner, I felt much consolation in the thought that, having no longer any thing on my mind, 1 could rejoice a little in our Lord s
1

Salamanca,

May

2ist, 1571.

THE PRINCESS OF EBOLI


presence.

335

My

could scarcely

eat.

soul took such pleasure in this that I I was unworthy of such happiness.

had arrived from speak to him, and he told me he had come to take me to the Foundation at Pastrana one which had been already agreed upon between us, but which I did not think I should have to carry out so soon. This unexpected message surprised and distressed me. It appeared very difficult to me to leave a monastery which had only just been founded, and founded under such difficulties. I made up my mind to refuse, and told the envoy so. The man remonstrated strongly, protesting that it would be an insult to his mistress if I did not go, as she had come to Pastrana on my account, and was expecting to meet

They came

to tell

me

that a courier
I

the Princess of Eboli.

went

to

me

there."

explain her reasons to the but apparently she had some stood difficulty in satisfying her messenger, who upon his dignity," as the saint informs us. Before writing she went to prostrate herself before the Blessed Sacrament, to implore our Lord to dictate the terms of her message, so that she might not offend this

Teresa

promised
a

to

princess in

letter,

"

personage whose favour, or disfavour, might influence The Princess of Eboli greatly the cause of the Reform. occupied a great position at Philip IPs court; her husband, Prince Ruy Gomez, was the king s chamber Whilst lain, and both enjoyed that monarch s favour. Teresa prayed with this intention, our Lord signified to her that it was His wish that she should start at once for Pastrana, and take the Rule and Constitutions
with her. is question of a For," He said to her, matter of even greater importance than the foundation of a Carmelite convent."
"

"it

336

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Teresa then consulted her confessor, without, how ever, confiding to him what our Lord had said to her, and on receiving the same advice from him she started the following day for Pastrana. She passed once more through Madrid, and received hospitality from Dona Leonor de Mascareiias, who, at that time in her character of foundress, lived at the convent of our Lady of the Angels. Dona Maria took occasion of the
saint s visit to

make her acquainted with Ambrogio

and Teresa, as soon as she had heard the history of this remarkable man, felt he might be of use
Mariano
;

to her in her great undertaking. Ambrogio Mariano was an Italian of

high birth, who had as a young man occupied an important post at the court of Queen Katherine of Austria. Disgust of the and a desire for world, military distinction, caused him
to leave her service.

He

joined the Knights of Malta,


his exploits, especially at

was made a commander, and

the battle of St. Quentin, when he headed the Spanish But God had designs troops, covered him with glory.

on his great soul, and as He had previously weaned him from the world s pleasures, He now detached him from its honours. He was falsely accused of com plicity in a murder, and thrown into prison, in which he languished for ten years, and during which time he made no effort to defend his cause, esteeming himself happy in imitating his Divine Master. When his innocence was brought to light he spent large sums in trying to defend his accusers. Philip II, having

become acquainted with his history, called him to his but God court and made him governor to his son had a better recompense in store for His servant. Mariano made a retreat under the Jesuits at Cordova, and on coming out of it he renounced his appointment, and fled to the desert of Tardon to join a company of
;

AMBROGIO MARIANO

337

hermits under a holy superior, Fr. Mathias. Teresa shall tell us the result of her interview with him.
"

Fr.

hermits.

Mariano told me about the holy life led by the They had their cells apart, and took their
it.

meals

in

They did not

recite divine office together,

Mass. They had no endowment, nor were they allowed to ask for alms they lived in great poverty by the work of their hands. Fr. Mariano had lived thus for eight years when he heard of the decree of the Council of Trent, which
only meeting
in the oratory for
;

obliged

all

hermits to join a religious Order.

When

we met him he was on his way to Rome to beg the Pope to make an exception in favour of the hermits of
Tardon. When he had finished speaking I showed him the primitive Rule, and pointed out to him that in join ing the Order of Carmel he might go on with the same
life he had led in his desert, particularly as manual regards labour, a practice to which he specially He told me he would take a night to think clung. it over. I saw that he had almost made up his mind, and I remembered the words our Saviour had addressed to me. During the night our Lord spoke in such a manner to him that he came the following day to announce his decision to me. He told me he could not understand the change that had come over him,

way

of

especially through the instrumentality of a He repeated the last word several times as

woman.
if it

was

not

God
"

alone

who changes and moves

the hearts of

Mariano was accompanied by another hermit, young man who, though simple and ignorant as a child in some matters, was very enlightened on divine things. His name, Fr. John de Miseria, was as humble as his person. Fr. John adopted Mariano s plans he was informed of them the two religious, directly however, asked Teresa if she would not found a new
!

man

338

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

monastery at Pastrana, in a fine hermitage which had been given them by Prince Ruy Gomez, instead of sending them to Mancera. Teresa was delighted at the suggestion, and wrote at once to the two provincials Meanwhile she left for the necessary authorization. Mariano at Madrid, and went on to Pastrana. The princess gave her at first a good reception, and the prince showed her much deference and genuine satisfaction at the proposed Carmelite Foundation. They begged her to occupy an apartment in a retired
part of the castle, while the workmen executed the necessary alterations in the convent under her eye. Teresa sums up the matter in Difficulties soon arose.

had no little to suffer, She says: demands were quite contrary to our It took the saint three months of Constitutions." with the princess s whims to arrive at some struggle first wished her to receive an result. She tangible had who left her convent at Segovia, nun, Augustinian without examination. Then, annoyed with the firm
a few words.
"I

as the princess s

to

ness displayed by the intrepid foundress, she refused endow the convent, saying that it might live, as that of Avila had done, on alms. But, urged the prudent mother, in a village of the size of Pastrana, whence

would the alms come? From their capricious bene In that case factress? (she no doubt asked herself). and starve have a one would day, superabundance they
the
next.

In

enough was
to live on,

short, the saint declared that unless settled on the convent for the Carmelites
at

no Foundation should be made

Pastrana.

The

"He was a sensible prince at last interfered. "and man," Teresa observed, gave in to my reasons, I and then caused the princess to do so likewise.

yielded on certain points because I was much more anxious about the establishment of a convent of friars

FOUNDATIONS AT PASTRANA
Pastrana than I was about the one for nuns." She had also not had the same difficulty about the former. The provincials gave their consent. Fr. Mariano and Fr. John arrived soon after and asked to be clothed. Teresa begged Fr. Anthony, who was then at Mancera, to come and give them the habit at the same time she sent for two nuns from the convent of Medina. The nuns were accompanied by Fr. Baltasar, of the miti gated Rule, who wished to embrace the Reform. Teresa, having examined him, thanked God for having sent her a man of such merit and sanctity and, as
at
;
1

delayed his arrival, she begged Fr. Baltasar to give the habit to Mariano and his companions. When Fr. Anthony at last arrived, he found a nucleus already formed by the holy foundress awaiting him at Pastrana. The Carmelite nuns were solemnly installed in their new convent on the Qth of
still

Fr.

Anthony

July,

and the

friars in theirs four

days

later.

The kind and generous

dispositions of the prince

and princess towards the new Foundations continued till the death of the former, which took place shortly
afterwards.

The

princess,

left to

own

the guidance of her

fancies
s

and a prey

to grief,

was soon

to justify

misgivings in her regard. Leaving an experienced nun from Avila, Mother Isabella of Dominic, at the head of the new com munity, the saint returned to Toledo. Here she
St."

Teresa

refused to take the place of prioress, and Sister Mary of the Angels had to submit to occupy this post under the eye of the holy mother, who an of

gave

them

in choir and at recreation. Admirable objectlesson which she never ceased to render till the last day of her life Having used her talents and her untiring energy in founding a monastery, no sooner was the
!

humility and obedience to the young novices by joining

example

340

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


saint retired to the back-

work accomplished than the

ground, effacing herself before a simple nun whom she called mother, though she had but a little while before
her as a daughter, and trained her to the From this daughter she asked such spiritual life. were as permissions necessary to the performance of
received
life, and took pleasure in sub and of the monastery to her her affairs those mitting In humiliating herself thus attaining a double end. she initiated the young prioress in the government, and in the still more difficult task, the direction, of souls. She taught her to command with gentleness, and yet with firmness, and to make allowance for difference of character without diminishing the force of authority. She communicated to them her own breadth of views and her exquisite tact. It was thus she formed

the duties of monastic

those great souls who, under the name of Mary Baptist, Mary of St. Jerome, Anne of Jesus, and countless
others, governed the first convents of the Reform in a manner worthy of their holy mother herself.

During the
obedience
to

six

months Teresa spent at Toledo under Mother Anne of the Angels, her time

was much taken up with her many Foundations. Many questions had to be settled and difficulties to be solved.
Accordingly, writing to her brother, Lorenzo de Cepeda, It is well I should let you know that since she says God has given me the charge of establishing these houses which indeed are His I have become a woman of business to the extent that I know a little about everything. ... I must tell you that your money arrived just in time to free me from certain scruples. For I have frequently had difficulties in all these
"

Foundations, upon which I make a point of consulting I the best lawyers wherever I happen to find myself. make it a duty to do this in all cases in which my

TERESA S GENEROSITY
conscience
is

341
I

concerned.
all for

And though

try to

be

the best, nevertheless I reproach exact, little too generous as regards the fees a for myself being also in other little ways when I of these consultations
to
;

and

do

find

it

necessary to

was spared had I had to borrow would have been ready to it, though me. their to However, I prefer being open purses in order to to say what I like to be able independent Would you believe it? My credit is these good folk. so good that people trust me to the extent of one or two
I

view, therefore, tion to the annoyance

make presents. From this point of your money gave me pleasure in propor

plenty of people

thousand ducats. Thus, in spite of the horror I have of money and business, it is our Lord s will that I should be occupied with nothing else. That is no small cross!
Please

God
it."

that
1

may

procure

Him some

glory by

carrying

Teresa was still occupied with the buildings which were being put up by Ramirez at Toledo, when she received a letter from Fr. Martin Gutierrez, rector of the Jesuit College, suggesting to her a Foundation at Salamanca, a town no less remarkable for its piety than for its learning. This proposition offered much attrac tion to the saint. In placing her modest house under
of the great university, she ensured, her sight was no secondary concern, the direc tion of her nuns, in spiritual matters, by the first she says, Spanish theologians, piety without and it likewise knowledge may lead to delusions fosters silly puerile devotions in souls and from childish devotions good Lord deliver us De devociones a bobas nos libre Dios ! Again, Teresa perceived another and a most striking advantage which was likely to accrue from this scheme, and that was that it

the

shadow
in

what

"

"for,"

Toledo, January lyth, 1570.

342

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


;

the
in

would pave the way for a Foundation of the friars of Reform a college for the training of their students
this

centre of

success.

learning being essential for their In addition to this, though Fr. Gutierrez was

unable to assist them pecuniarily, he put his credit and This was worth more to them than any fortune, for the name of the holy and learned rector was venerated throughout Salamanca Teresa answered that she would as that of a saint. as soon as circumstances made it to Salamanca go
his advice at their service.

possible.

she had got all in good order at Toledo, she a round of her other convents, so as to assure began herself that nothing would suffer in her absence during She revisited the labours of the new Foundation. Medina del Campo, Valladolid, and Pastrana. Whilst she was at the convent of Pastrana she assisted, on the
Fr.
to

When

loth of July, at the professions of Fr. Mariano and John de Miseria. Fifteen days later she returned
1

Medina, where she had the following vision, which she confided to Fr. Baltasar Alvarez. Whilst engaged in prayer on the Feast of St. Anne,
Ocean, carnage was unveiled before her eyes. She saw forty sons of St. Ignatius, priests, scholastics, and novices, being massacred on board a One command ship which was taking them to Brazil. the crowd out stood encouraging amongst ing figure
terrible scene of

1570, she

was transported

in spirit to the Pacific

where a

his brothers to suffer

martyrdom
"

for the faith, his voice


"

dominating the cries of fury of the murderers, and the rather Let us die," he cried, groans of the victims. than surrender, as becomes children of God and sons of the Crusaders." Teresa recognized a relation
in this

sainted hero
1

it

was Francisco Perez Godoi, a


Nos. 509, 510.

Boll.,

A VISION OF FORTY MARTYRS


former pupil of Fr.

343

little later she Baltasar s. beheld, in a vision, his entrance into heaven, where

he and his companions were gloriously rewarded with the crown of martyrdom. News of the massacre of forty Jesuits reached Spain The ship they sailed in had been a month later. attacked near the Canary Islands by John Soria, a
furious Lutheran

who commanded

fleet

of corsairs.

In his zeal against the Catholic Church he did not allow any one of her faithful defenders to escape him. Fr. Baltasar, comparing the official account,

with the one Teresa had given him, recognized the accuracy of her words in all

which he received

later on,

particulars. The saint s last halting-place was Avila. It was ever The a fresh joy to her to return to her Bethlehem.

nuns, no less happy than their mother, came one by one to render an account of their souls to her. Some had difficulties in which they required her advice others humbled themselves by confiding the weaknesses of which they had been guilty. Others asked her advice
;

about prayer.
attention as
if

Teresa gave each as much thought and she were occupied with the care of her

soul alone. 1

three novices in Teresa

Jerome, had received The saint had been of about one these, Anne de interiorly enlightened her besides Lobera, knowing slightly by reputation. Anne had been suggested as novice to Teresa by Fr. Rodriguez three months before her arrival. Contrary to her habit of receiving a postulant with prudent
prioress,

The

Mother Mary of
s

St.

absence.

the saint had welcomed this one less as a than as a coadjutrix. Their first interview took subject at s. St. place Teresa, who loved great natures Joseph
reserve,
1

Foundations.

344

THE
less

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

only

than great virtues, found both one and the

of Jesus. She promised herself that in this valiant she would have one on soul cultivating

other in

Anne

whom
God

she could depend in her old age, and who, helping, would prove a powerful support to the

Reform.

CHAPTER XX
spent three months at St. Joseph s Avila, time she prepared for the Founda which during She wrote to Mgr. Gonzales de at Salamanca. tion illustrious birth and great per of a Mendoza, prelate an for sonal merit, authorization, which the bishop, her favour from Fr. Gutierrez, in much heard having her very willingly. A good-sized house was granted hired without any difficulty. Having been occupied divided into it was many small rooms all by students, The court. an inner into description given opening to Teresa of the building pleased her, as she saw some resemblance in it to the plan of a monastery. Unfortu nately no one mentioned to her the neighbourhood of a sluggish stream which rendered the house damp and unhealthy a grave drawback, which her maternal eye

TERESA
1

was the

Everything being thus pre at the end of October, started Teresa pared beforehand, the Blessed of Sister Sacrament, an Mary taking timid a somewhat nun of disposition, with her elderly
first to

discover.

The night of the 3Oth was as her sole companion. the weather was cold, litter in a covered rough, passed and the saint in a more than usually suffering state.
;

at Salamanca, she went straight and sent for Nicholas Gutierrez, the father of two nuns of the Incarnation, and a very good friend

Arriving about noon

to the inn,

1 He had taken part in the Council of Trent, and on his return to Spain had exerted himself with as much zeal as prudence in executing-

its

decrees.

345

346
to the

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Reform, to meet her there. This excellent man The first thing to himself put entirely at her service. be done was to get rid of the students, who still in This being habited the house hired for the Carmelites. done (though not without difficulty), Teresa and her companion took possession of their new abode at night
fall.

The

students,

we

are told, had


of
in
filth

left

the house in

an indescribable
saint spent

state

and disorder, and the

the

night,

cleaning and sweeping.

spite of her ill-health, in Sister Mary tried to be of as

much

use to her as her terror and her years permitted, as Teresa tells us, she could not get out of her but, head that possibly some of the students, whom the people had such trouble in dislodging, were hidden in
"

the

many

situation
spite

corners and garrets of the house." The had certainly a comic side to it, and Teresa, in of her fatigue, was amused at the idea "that the
sister at her

good
of

age should be

in

such a mortal fear

students."

The following night

need of rest. She was on these occasions with straw, which she spread on the floor to sleep on, and Gutierrez having lent her blankets, she prepared two beds for herself and her

the saint had great accustomed to provide herself

companion. Instead of sleeping, however, Sister Mary appeared to be still a prey to fears. "What ails you, No one can possibly my daughter?" asked Teresa.
"

get in

"

here!"

what troubles me

Doubtless, mother," she replied; "but is the thought of what you would do

alone in the house, supposing I were to die to-night." It was the eve of All Souls, and at that moment every
bell in Salamanca was tolling mournfully for the dead, and their sounds had, no doubt, impressed themselves on the imagination of the Carmelite nun. The saint admits she was not altogether insensible to their in fluence nevertheless, her answer was dictated by her
;

SALAMANCA
usual

347

common
it

sense.

"Well,

us go to sleep." 1 This Foundation was attended by the usual difficulties. Winter set in, and the brook which flowed, or rather stagnated, close to the house made it insupportably damp, and its old and crumbling walls threatened to fall in and crush its It was impossible to offer our Lord a inhabitants. suitable abode in such a ruin, so that whilst the nuns
let

happens meanwhile

will

be time

daughter, when this enough to think about it


;

stayed there, though Mass was said daily, it was only His servants that He could find a rest Teresa sent to Medina for three nuns with ing-place. whom to begin the new Foundation. Ana de Tapia, one of these nuns, had, with her sister Inez, embraced
in the hearts of

Reform three years previously. Teresa had no hesitation in separating the sisters, for she knew them capable of any sacrifice, and leaving Inez de Jesus at
the

Medina

Anne
to

as prioress, she confided the of the Incarnation at Salamanca.


;

same She

office to

also sent

Avila for two novices Teresa thought so highly of one of these, Anne of Jesus, that we shall find her henceforth constantly associated with the holy mother in all her undertakings. She gave Anne a bed in her own cell, thus admitting her into a most enviable
intimacy by this means she became the recipient of the inmost confidences of a soul which she cherished in a special manner because she believed it to be
;

one of predilection in the sight of God. This strong and supernatural affection, moreover, far from blinding her to her daughter s weaknesses, gave her an even greater insight into them, and a double courage in
correcting them.

We

may

be permitted to think that

a ray of that prophetic spirit which the saint so often manifested, revealed to her that it was the destiny of
1

Foundations, ch. Xix.

348

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


of Jesus to carry the

first light of sacrifice, and and expiatory prayer, to that unfortunate country France, which the saint had so often wept over a light which she had herself lit in Spain, and which had in all probability saved it from the heresies and divisions which overran Europe at this time. The saint did not, as a rule, leave a new Foundation till it was provided with what was absolutely essential

Anne

intercession

to its well-being

but Salamanca, owing to the great pressure which was put upon her, \vas an exception and early in the year 1571 she left it for Alba de
; ;
"

Tormes, where she established her eighth convent of Carmel. She was about to erect her own sepulchre," an ancient biographer of Teresa tells us, and to pre pare, unknown to herself, a sanctuary in which pilgrims from Spain and other countries for succeeding ages would come and venerate the relics of her blessed body." Scarcely fifteen miles separate Alba from Salamanca. This little town, situated on the western slope of a high hill, overlooks the majestic flow of the River Tormes. The castle of the Alba family, represented at that time by the conqueror of Muhlburg and viceroy of the Netherlands, stood on a high cliff to the right of the town. The peaceful waters of the great river washed
"

the foot of the

left

Guadarramas on the horizon must have recalled Teresa the situation of her own town of Avila.

slope, whilst the last spurs of the to

The

installation of the Carmelites took place without

obstacle, all the preparations having been made before the saint appeared on the scene. Her sister, Juana

husband, who had long had seconded the efforts of the founder, Francisco Velasquez, in preparing for Teresa s
de

Ahumada,

and

her

been

settled at Alba,

arrival.

Francisco Velasquez occupied the post of steward

AN ANSWER TO PRAYER
to the

349
his wife,

Duke

of

Alba

s vast estates.

He and

Teresa Laiz, having given up hope of posterity, re solved to consecrate their fortune to buildingo a convent, whilst leaving the Carmelites their sole heirs. Teresa, in her Foundations, gives us the whole history of Their lives had been passed in this excellent couple. affluence and honour, but they had one drawback to their happiness, and it was a grievous one: they had no children. The desire for this blessing, which had been denied them, left them no rest. They multiplied
their devotions, especially to St. Andrew, in order to obtain children who after their deaths w ould continue
"

praising the
direction to
in

Lord."

Teresa Laiz

Finally, a vision gave a fresh s desires. She saw herself

seated in the

balcony of her
to a

house

at

Salamanca,

having denly the scene changed

front of her the streets of the city.

Sud
with

meadow enamelled

exquisite flowers flowers such as were never seen blooming out of paradise. She saw a court on one side of the meadow surrounded by a gallery, a well,

and various objects which she was to see later on. An old man of mild and venerable appearance, the Apostle St. Andrew, stood near the well, and, looking at her who for so long had implored one favour from him said, pointing to the flowers Here are indeed
"

children, though not those you asked of me." The heart of Teresa Lai/ was filled with joy, simultaneously the craving to become a mother
her.

and
left

She confided
in
its

the vision to her husband, and they


interpretation. Accordingly they for a community of nuns who

both agreed

commenced searching
to this

would carry out the design which owed its inspiration heavenly dream. Six years passed, and still At the they were no nearer finding what they sought. end of that time Francisco Velasquez, having been

350

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

appointed to the management of the Duke of Alba s took up his abode with his wife at Alba. affairs, Teresa Laiz had a great dislike to the town of Alba, and her distaste was not diminished when, on arriving at nightfall, she was inducted into a huge and illarranged house. Great was her joy, however, when the day broke, and she looked out of the window and
features of the scene she

recognized the well, the gallery, and all the other had been shown in her vision six years before. Teresa at once renewed her search with fresh ardour, and her confessor, who till then had been opposed to her designs, having, in the course of a journey he had undertaken about this time, heard of our saint, told his penitent that she could not do better than make over her house to the Carmelites. Teresa Laiz, in this juncture of affairs, had recourse to Juana de Ahumada, who gladly undertook to serve as intermediary between the founders and her sister. Some preliminary difficulties intervened, but in the end Velasquez and his wife made over their ow-n house
Carmelites, taking up their abode in a much one in the town. The Blessed Sacrament was solemnly carried into the chapel on the feast of the
the
inferior

to

Conversion
the

of

St.

Paul,

monastery was

January 25th, founded under the

title

1571, and of the

Annunciation. Teresa would willingly have spent a little time at Alba in her sister s society, and surrounded by kind

But a lengthened residence there was impos our saint when she thought of the privations which were being endured by her daughters at Sala manca. She wished to rejoin them early in February,
friends.
sible to

and

after summoning five or six nuns to Alba from the monasteries of Toledo and Medina, and appointing Mother Juana of the Holy Ghost prioress,

MIRACLE

WROUGHT BY TERESA

351

she set out for Salamanca. On arriving in the town, she was obliged to go first to the house of the Count de Monterey, by order of the provincial, the countess having obtained leave to receive a visit from the saint. This visit, which Teresa accepted out of obedience, God blessed by two miracles. On her arrival the countess begged of her to go and see a woman who had been long in her service, and who had been attacked by a violent fever, and was given over by the doctor. The instant Teresa laid her hand on the sick woman s forehead, she seemed to wake up from a deep She rose in her bed and exclaimed: "Who sleep. touched me? My illness is gone Teresa, confused by the suddenness with which her prayer was heard, tried to pass off the invalid s exclamations as the ravings of one in delirium but the joy and gratitude of the poor woman, and the testimony of those who surrounded her, testified to the miracle which had been granted to the saint s prayers. Directly afterwards the countess s youngest daughter was attacked by the same fever. Again they had recourse to Teresa. This time Teresa s humility caused her to take precautions. Whilst she was praying for the child s recovery, St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena appeared to her, and promised the child s cure on condition she wore the Dominican habit for a year. Fr. Banez was living at Salamanca, and the saint confided the vision to him so that the conditions might be fulfilled without anyone suspecting whence the knowledge came. The
"

good father undertook the commission the promise was made, and the precious child was restored to its parents arms. Notwithstanding the care with which the secret was guarded, the child, when she was grown up to be a woman, always attributed her cure to
;

Teresa

prayers

and she transmitted to her son, the

352

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
1

celebrated Olivarez, a devotion to the patron saint of Spain, and a love for the Carmelites of the Reform.

Teresa returned to her monastery as soon as she could escape from her kind friends. Though their generosity followed her there, nothing could remedy the evils from which the convent suffered. Nowhere was the situation of the Carmelites more deplorable a fact which decided Teresa to stay at Salamanca as long Other crosses, and heavier as circumstances permitted. ones, awaited her elsewhere, but God, before imposing them on her, wished to strengthen her by a succession of graces, thus preparing her for the ineffable joys and sorrows which the Lent of the year 1 57 1 was to bring her. It is time for us to return to Teresa s interior life. Let us picture her to ourselves for the moment as having shaken the dust of the roads off her feet. The Even the noise of trafficking is now far from her.
;

at

Foundations are for the moment forgotten. In the cell Salamanca, at the foot of the tabernacle, Teresa of She is His in prayer, as Jesus belongs to Him alone. The saint passed before she was wholly His in action.
the last days of

Holy

Week

in that

agonized

state to

which she gives the name,

in

"the absence of God." It is she says, one which it is in the power of none to invoke The soul feels itself penetrated with so or to escape. ardent a desire to see God that she is taken out of her God puts she longs to get rid of all creatures. self her interiorly into a desert a desert of such a nature that it appears to her that nothing in the whole world could be any source of consolation to her, and that she has only one wish to die in this solitude. Though God appears to be far removed from her, He sometimes discovers His sovereign grandeur to her in a manner
; :

mystical language, of an indescribable pain,

Roll.,

No.

539.

THE ABSENCE OF GOD


that goes

353

beyond

all

this not to console

imaginable thoughts of man, and her, but to show her how much

afflict herself for the absence of the Who embraces all good within Him Good, Sovereign self. Thus her sorrow grows with the light her desire becomes so great, her solitude so profound, her torture
;

reason she has to

so piercing, that she can say in truth with the royal

prophet

"

Vigilam et fact-its

sum

sicut passer soUtariits

in tec to."

one occasion, at the end of a day spent in this martyrdom, Teresa, having been told that the hour of collation was past, went out of obedience to the
interior

On

refectory.

In spite of her loathing for food,


"to

"

I tried,"

overcome myself and took a piece of bread, and our Lord, appearing to me, broke and put it to my lips, saying Eat, My daughter, so as to have I suffer in strength for this time of trial. your suffer ings, nevertheless it is good for you to endure these
<

she says,

Teresa says I my longings were appeased." On the Feast of Palm Sunday, while still under the impression of this favour, she went to Communion, and it appeared to her as if her mouth, after receiving the sacred Host, was filled with the Precious Blood, and that all her being was immersed in it, and at once her soul tasted ineffable sweetness and joy. This sacred blood seemed to flow warm from the wounds of our Saviour. "Daughter," our Lord said to her, I wish to apply the effects of My Blood to
things.
felt
left
"

My sufferings
at one,

soon

me,"

we were

and

for the time all

"

you My mercy will ever be wanting to I have shed it with much you. suffering, and it shall be a cause of great joy to you. This is My recom
;

fear not that

pense
thirty
2

what you have done for Me this For day." years Teresa had made a special preparation for
for
1

Life, ch. xx.

354

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

her reception of our Lord on Palm Sunday, so as to make up by the warmth of her welcome for the coldheartedness of the Jews, who, though they greeted Him with Hosannas, neither invited Him into their These were very houses, nor gave Him food to eat. childish considerations," she says, "yet our Lord 1 deigned to show that He was pleased with them."
"

Holy Week passed in silence and recollection. She looked forward for consolation to the day of the Resur It came, but still she mourned the absence of rection. the Beloved One prayer was without consolation no divine light illumined her soul. The saint kept silence about her sufferings. She came to recreation with a smile on her lips, so as not to trouble her daughters with her trials. As was her custom on great feasts, she asked one of the community, Isabella of Jesus, to
; ;

Unconsciously the young novice, the exquisite verses on the suffering of living without God," put the torture that pierced Teresa s
in
"

sing them a hymn.

heart into words.

At the

refrain
!

Only to see Thee, O Beauty Divine For this I would gladly die

Teresa became rapt, as it were, out of herself, from excess of agony. Sobs and cries escaped her lips, and she had no power to restrain them. Her daughters carried her to her humble cell, where she remained prostrate till the following day, plunged in an agony in which love fought with bitterness and desolation. How describe the pains she was suffering? Bossuet has at tempted to do so. Who," he says, "will give me words to express the ardour that fires Teresa s soul to describe how day and night, without intermission, she sighs for her Divine Spouse? How her love
"

V. de la Fuente, Vol.

I,

p.

157.

TERESA
. .

TRIALS AND JOYS

355

ever increasing makes it impossible for her to support existence? Thence corne these tears, these sobs, these excessive pains, which no doubt would have con signed h-r to the grave, had not God miraculously preserved her life in order to render it even more
.

to herself, the hymn known as rose spontaneously to her lips from the It would be depths of her pierced soul. necessary to have her heart, and her genius, to translate it into any other language. In this poem we have the cry of the exile mingled with the accents of the lover hope and desire are both there. die because I cannot die!

worthy of His love." When Teresa came


"gloso"

her

"I

live transported out of Our Lord, touched myself." doubtless by the ardent aspirations of His servant, desired to show her that, though He left her on earth
I

because He had still need of her services, yet that she was ever with Him as He was with her, and this union was as close as was possible whilst she was in a land

Accordingly on the following day, Monday Easter week, Teresa, whilst ravished in spirit at prayer, was transported to Heaven, and Jesus Christ took her to His Father s feet, and presented her to Him, saying: "This is her whom Thou hast given Me. I, in My turn, give her back to Thee" and the Eternal Father accepted the offering that was made to
in
;

of exile.

Him. Then, the hour of Communion arriving, she was sensible of the divine Presence closely united to her. Jesus overwhelmed her with favours, and said to her, amongst other things, "Thou seest Me, My It is indeed Me. Show Me thy hands." daughter. Taking them in His own He placed them in the wound in His side, saying: "Look at My wounds thou art not alone, and life is short." The recollection of this week, and especially of the
;

356

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

transpiercing of her heart on Easter Sunday, was ever But she did not rest on her cherished by Teresa. sorrows or her joys. She fed her strength on God s to set an example of the lesson which gifts, in order she never ceased inculcating, namely, that love is proved by actions. The occasion soon came for her
to suffer, to act, and to be humbled. Difficulties had arisen at Medina

between the com Order with the the of and provincial mitigated munity
regard to the admission of a novice, Isabella of the Angels. The provincial had no right to interfere, the Carmelites of the Reform being (it will be remem bered) under the jurisdiction of the General of the Order but the girl was an orphan with money, and
;

her uncle had appealed to the provincial to support certain claims he had put forward to be considered patron of the church built by the girl s money. This was not the first time that an attempt had been made on the part of the friars of the mitigated Observance to interfere in the government of the convents of the Reform. Teresa, therefore, took this occasion to assert their independence by writing a firm but respectfully worded letter to the provincial, asking him to leave the regulation of her novice s affairs to her. The letter having produced no result, she went
herself to Medina, and transferred Isabella to Salamanca. It happened to be the moment of the elections, and the community had just re-elected Mother Inez of Jesus.

The

provincial, determined not to suffer defeat, arrived without warning at the monastery, cancelled the elec tion, appointing a nun from the Incarnation as prioress, and ordered Mother Teresa and Mother Inez, under severe censure, to leave at once for Avila. The saint submitted in silence. Though her houses were not under the provincial s jurisdiction, she con-

THE APOSTOLIC VISITORS

357

tinned personally to look upon him as her superior, having made her profession as nun of the Convent of the Incarnation. It was the same with regard to Mother Inez. It was late on a winter s day, and the cold threatened to be severe, when the saint and her companion started on their journey. They could find neither coach nor litter to convey them, but were forced to borrow two mules from a water-carrier, on which to cover the distance of twenty miles which separated Medina from Avila. If the holy mother required con solation, the affection of her daughters at Avila, and the solitude there, would have sufficed to give it but at and turned out rejoiced as she was being humbled of her own house, she suffered deeply for her daughters at Medina, left to the mercy of an incapable ruler. Providence was soon, however, to apply a remedy as complete as it was unexpected. had been pursuing the difficult work of the Pius Reform of the religious Orders with equal energy and gentleness, a work in which he was seconded by That king, not satisfied by the results ob Philip II. tained by Fr. Rossi, asked to have the Carmelite Order submitted to a second Apostolic Visitor. The Pope this time appointed two Dominicans, Fr. Vargas
;

and Fr. Pedro Hernandez to Castile. was a man of great learning and con summate prudence, and of even greater virtue. He travelled with the utmost simplicity, making no use of
for Andalusia, Fr. Hernandez

vehicle or saddle-horse, of his Order. To some

accompanied by another

friar

who expressed
"

their astonish

ment
it

him thus traversing on foot the roads of he answered that Castile, having come to visit saints
at seeing

first visit

would not become him to travel at his ease." His was to the monastery of Carmelites of the discalced Rule of Pastrana. He established himself

358

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

there during the Lent of 1570, following the exercises of the friars, and partaking of their fastings and their He was astounded with the virtues he saw rude fare.
practised there, and found nothing to add or to retrench in their Constitutions, which were stamped with the wide and generous spirit of their holy foundress. To a novice who came to tell him that he thought of joining a more austere Order, he said, "Trust to my from all I have seen and read, I clo not experience believe there exists a monastery in the Church of God
;

which excels this one in austerity and perfection." 1 After he had spent some days with the fathers he assembled them in Chapter, and asked them if they were ready to recognize his authority. They answered that they were quite ready to do so, conscious that the Reform would gain in the Apostolic Visitor a powerful advocate and protector. Satisfied with the reply, Fr. Hernandez authorized the Foundation of a third monas and tery at Alcala de Henares before his departure from that time the Order of the discalced began to
;

Before leaving Pastrana, Fr. Hernan spread rapidly. dez visited the convent of Carmelite nuns. More and more edified at what he saw, he became anxious to make the acquaintance of our saint, and as soon as

opportunity permitted convent of Avila.


Fr.

he went

to

visit

her at

the

Visitor
tices,

Hernandez having in his capacity of Apostolic examined Teresa on her interior life and prac

she answered with her usual straightforwardness, explaining to him the affairs of her Reform, her trials and her consolations, all with a force and simplicity which filled him with admiration. As regards her personal conduct, she referred to it in a manner which brought out rather the errors she saw in it than the
1

History of

tlie

Onler,

Book

IV.

TERESA RETURNS TO MEDINA


good
;

359

but her humility spoke more in her favour than all the praises he had heard of her. Fr. Hernandez hearing whilst he was at Avila that the prioress of Medina was already weary of her charge, and about to return to the Convent of the
Incarnation, he set off at once for Medina, and pre With much tact, instead of sided at a fresh election. the provincial had rejected, whom recalling Mother Inez,
as prioress, he caused Teresa to be elected, and sent for her at once to put her at the head of her little flock.

Fresh journeys and fresh fatigues were


our saint
;

in store for

but she offered all willingly to God for the her On her return journey she of good daughters. found herself at nightfall on the edge of a river, and Dis her guide was unable to find a fordable place. the the man failures but his pulled up, couraged by
saint accosted

him gently, saying,

"

We

cannot spend

the night in the fields, my friend ourselves to God s care and go on."
;

and pushed her mule into the it without any difficulty a ray of

recommend She led the way stream, and passed over


let

us

light miraculously

illuminating her passage, so that the rest of the little company were able to pass over in safety. Teresa gave two months to the work of re-establish

ing order in the convent at Medina, which had suffered

from

as

many months

misgovernment.

She had

restored peace and joy to all hearts, when she received an order from the Visitor to return to Avila in order to take up a cross which human weakness had caused her
to dread so deeply nine years before, and which threatened to have increased ten times in weight during that interval. For, using the authority dele gated to him by the Pope over the whole Order of Mount Carmel, Fr. Hernandez had nominated the holy mother prioress of the Convent of the Incarnation.

CHAPTER XXI
had multiplied at the Convent of the Incarnation since Teresa left it. Whilst poverty JT\. generously accepted, and joined to manual labour, penance, and regularity of life had produced miracles in the Carmelites of the Reform, the nuns of the Incarnation dragged it as an intolerable burthen, or
sought to lighten
its

BUSES

weight by asking hospitality

for

indefinite periods of their revenues of the convent

friends, alleging that the were insufficient for their

support. Disorder, moral and material, reigned, and relaxation of discipline was carried to such lengths that little more was needed to complete the ruin of the

community.

The effect produced on the Apostolic Visitor by the Convent of the Incarnation after his visits to those of the Reform may be easily imagined. He saw at once that it was idle to attempt to remedy evils so deepseated by rules and regulations. One sole means of salvation suggested itself to him to find someone
:

with a character of sufficient firmness to make the necessary reforms, and a heart sufficiently gentle, and merciful, to do so in a manner that would make their acceptance possible to these poor souls, already so Fr. Hernandez opposed to regular Observance. in our saint the recognized possession of these quali
ties.

Without announcing

he

summoned

his intentions to the nuns, a Chapter of the mitigated Order, and


360

TERESA

NEW APPOINTMENT

361

having obtained a majority of votes he named, in virtue of his authority as Visitor Apostolic, Mother Teresa of Jesus prioress of the Incarnation. The news of this appointment was as great a blow
to Teresa as

resistance
to

it was to the community. A desperate was organized at the Incarnation, and

Teresa was not less desirous of inducing the Visitor change his mind. How would she find it possible to abandon her eight Foundations ? she asked herself. All were but newly established her counsels and decisions, and even her presence, were continually required by them. Novices, nuns, all were led by her direction. Temporalities also required her constant
;

She had difficulties of every kind, in supervision. On cluding exacting benefactors, to contend with. the other hand, it was clear that a such as that charge to which she had been appointed would rob her of her It liberty, and absorb all her time and her strength. was impossible also not to take personal reasons into consideration. How could she think without shudder ing of having to recall a community of nuns to obedi ence, and to adherence to their Rule, whose minds were prejudiced against her, and the majority of whom probably looked upon her as a traitor? The feast of the Visitation found Teresa still a prey to interior

She was also unhappy anguish and uncertainty. about her brother Pedro, to whom she was tenderly attached, and who was at this time in the West Indies.
She took refuge in these anxieties to a little hermitage and appealed to our Lord to help her Why, O Lord/ she cried, should my brother be in a place where his salvation is endangered? Ah, my Lord, if I saw Your brother exposed to such risks, what should I not do to deliver him from them?" Our
in the garden,
"

"

Saviour answered her:

"And

yet you hesitate about

362

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


!

going to the help of the nuns of the Incarnation, and they are sisters of Mine. Take courage and know that it is My wish. The undertaking is not so difficult as you believe it to be, and what you think will be hurtful to your Foundations will turn to their advan tage, as well as to that of your former monastery. Cease, therefore, your resistance, and never forget how
great
is

My

power."

Teresa was vanquished. She confided her brother to the mercy of God, her convents to His Providence, and told Fr. Hernandez that she was ready to obey his orders. Teresa did not start at once for Avila, as the Visitor thought it prudent she should delay her arrival a few days in order to give the nuns time to conquer their resentment. Teresa also issued an order before that the arriving young girls who were being educated at the convent should be sent back to their parents a very necessary precaution in view of what was to
follow.

The

saint s
Fr.

installation

was
in

fixed

for
to

the 6th

of

to the Hernandez, of the had the occasion, solemnity provincial, charged Fr. Angelo de Salazar (who had been lately re-elected), and another eminent ecclesiastic to accompany Teresa to the convent. The provincial on his arrival con voked a Chapter. The scene was an exact reproduction of that which had taken place in 1562 only instead of the Teresa in the was now being culprit, place of honour. Who knows, however, whether the holy mother in her own heart was not suffering a greater trial and humiliation on this occasion than on the former one? The provincial proceeded to read the act of election establishing Mother Teresa of Jesus prioress of the Order, by authority of the Apostolic Visitor and elec tion of the heads of the As soon as he had Chapter.
;

October.

order

add

TERESA S INSTALLATION
ceased the storm broke loose.

363

hundred furious

voices protested against what they chose to call an act of violence and a crying" injustice. 1 Too angry to be careful of their dignity, the nuns shouted and pushed,

when

a voice

that of Catherine de Castro


<(

was heard

above the tumult crying Teresa as our prioress."

Yes

we recognize Mother

And

she began to intone the

number followed her lead, and tak ing the cross they tried to force a way through the crowd in order to conduct the new prioress processionally (as the rule prescribed) into the choir. The provincial, sought to come to their aid through the opposing crowd. On the one hand the chant of the Te Deum was heard, on the other sobs and abuse. Disorder reigned. The provincial menaced the censures of the Church to deaf
small

Te Deum.

Teresa alone remained calm, occupied in implor s assistance. She succeeded at last in escaping from the crowd and proceeded to the choir, where she
ears.

ing

God

prostrated herself before the tabernacle.


r

Whilst the
:

storm waged round her she prayed w ith that ardour


ever opened Heaven to her petitions Lord, send peace to this house, and either send it a superior less displeasing to the community, or dispose their wills to submit." She then returned to the

which had
"

Chapter-room, where the provincial \vas still trying to impose silence and submission on the nuns. Teresa Pardon these poor souls, approaching him said father, it is not surprising that they should accept a prioress ungraciously who is so unworthy of the office." Then going to each of the nuns in turn, she to them with her usual kindness. Several had spoke
"

fainted
in

pressure of the crowd.


1

consequence of their own fury, and the The saint, taking their hands them to consciousness. back When hers, brought
in
Hist, of the Order.

Vcpes

Rlheni.

364

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


!"
"

the saint produced a someone shouted U A miracle Here is the relic of the true Cross which she bore. Our Lord has had author of the prodigy," she said,
"

pity on these poor sisters." Thus, without the support of the provincial, Teresa

triumphed by her kindness


lasted

some hours, she was


to all

after a struggle which left mistress of the situation.


;

and

friends of the recalcitrant nuns, who, rules and regulations, had been admitted into the convent in order to foster the rebel
in opposition

Some gentlemen,

were forced to retire without having effected their object. The nuns dispersed to their cells, and silence was restored. The Peace was made, but in appearance only. Teresa community but awaited the first Chapter to tell in so many words that it would be useless for her to impose fresh rules on them, because they would not be obeyed. Her presence would be endured because
lion,

was impossible to get rid of her, but her authority would never be recognized. Whilst plans of resistance
it

were being organized, Teresa made hers. The mon astery bell assembled the nuns in the Chapter-room on The the day fixed for the first Chapter to be held. saint had been in the room before them, and had placed a large statue of the Blessed Mother in the
occupied by the prioress, and, having put the monastery keys in Mary s hands, she seated herself at her feet. As the nuns one after another trooped into the room their eyes took in the scene, and their faces fell already a glimmer of remorse found its way into their hearts. Teresa s idea could not fail to be grasped. Under her sway of peace and love the honour and superiority were all to be laid at the feet of the Queen of Carmel the humble prioress, desirous only of under her orders, had come to the Incarnation ruling
stall
;
;

TERESA S ADDRESS TO THE CHAPTER

365

to obey her, and to serve her sisters. When all had taken their places, Teresa opened the Chapter in the
following"
4

words

Our reverences, my mothers and sisters. Lord has sent me out of obedience to this house to occupy a post which I was far from desiring, or merit
This election has afflicted me much, not only ing. because I feel myself incapable of worthily acquitting myself of the duties which it imposes, but also because you have been deprived by it of your ordinary rights of election, and because your prioress, chosen contrary to your wills and inclinations, would do very well if she
followed the good example of the least amongst you. I come accordingly amongst you to serve you and console you, as much as it is possible for me to do, in doing which I trust our Lord will assist me with His divine In all other matters there is not one who has grace. not the right to teach me or to reprove me for my defects. See, my mothers, what I am ready to do for each If the sacrifice of my life or my blood one of you would help you, I am ready to make it. I am a
!

Your

daughter of

know

this house, and your reverences sister. I the character and wants of all here, or at least

of the greater number. should you look upon me as a stranger, who am yours under so many rights and titles? You need have no fear of my rule though
;

Why

have lived among the discalced Carmelites and governed them, I know by the grace of God how to lead those who do not belong to the Reform. My wish is that we should all serve God in meekness, and carry out the small amount our Rule and Constitutions ask of us out of love for Him Who loves us so much. Our weakness is great, I know it well but if we cannot attain our object at first by our actions, let us reach it by our desires. Our Saviour is merciful. He
I
;

366
will
will

THE
come
to

LIFE OF SAINT
1

TERESA

our assistance, and by degrees our actions our good-will." equal Who could resist such lovingkindness? The nuns,

punished by the mercy Teresa showed them than by any chastisement she could have indicted, promised her obedience with one accord, and begged her to reform whatever customs she found in the convent which were opposed to the Rule, and the religious The following day all the heads of the depart spirit. ments brought her their keys, and asked her to dispose
better

of the offices as she thought best.to make changes. She con some time in merely noting the abuses which had crept in since she left, and in
in

Teresa was

no haste

tented herself for

strengthening her position by a truly maternal kindness. It was necessary first of all to make cloistered life bearable, even attractive, to souls accustomed to fly from it and in order to effect this, to create a family life such as made the little solitude of St. Joseph s so and The difficulties she encountered peaceful happy. in order to effect this, with so many and such divers
;

characters to conciliate, would have seemed insuperable. But Teresa threw her genius and her heart into the work. She did all from motives of love, and her success was such that she could only safeguard her u her Prioress humility by ascribing all the glory to 3 the Blessed Virgin Mary."

She was always ready


disposal,

to

put herself at her daughters

and gave free access to all, so that each one might come and confide their troubles and wants to her. Her conversations were so delightful that the nuns no and at longer sought for distractions in the parlour recreation her playful talk, and the which she hymns
;
]

V. de

la

Fuente, Vol.

I,

p.
;

Hist, of the Order,

Ycpcs

522. Ribera.

Aviln,

March

7th, 1572.

TERESA

REFORMS

367

loved, took the place of profane songs, unworthy of a One of the saint s greatest difficulties religious house.

was to suppress, or at least diminish, the time given by the nuns to conversations in the parlour. gentleman of Avila, a friend of one of the nuns, having been con

tinually refused admittance through Teresa s orders, asked to see her, and abused her soundly for the changes she had made. Teresa waited in silence till he

and then forbade him in her most manner ever to trouble the peace of the monastery again and threatened, should he disobey her orders, to report him to the king. After this she had no further trouble, and the governor of Avila hearing of it came to congratulate her on the firmness with which she kept order in her monastery. The numerous abuses in the monastic life required also a stringent reform. Teresa made use of the tried the little of of band fidelity holy nuns whom she found at the Incarnation to introduce, by example, customs which she wished to be loved, before they w ere enforced It was to these nuns upon the rest of the community. she confided those posts which required zeal and tact. She also invited to her assistance the prioress of Valladolid, Mother Isabella of the Cross, a professed nun of the Incarnation, and made her sub-prioress so that when she was confined to her cell by one of her violent attacks of tertian fever, Mother Isabella took her place
had
finished,

authoritative

The rest of the community followed in the lead of the two mothers, and of the group sensibly
in the choir.

who supported them.

Divine

office

devoutly sung,

spiritual reading, pious practices which the saint knew well how to vary according to the seasons and feasts ;

recollection, prayer, the practice of penance, tributed to restore a vitality to religious life to

all

con
it

which

had long been a stranger.

368

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

in carrying out her pro without going beyond it. She had come to gramme the Incarnation not to impose the austerities of the primitive Rule on nuns not bound to observe it, but to cause those imposed by the mitigated Rule to be kept with fervour. In short, she taught them how to sanctify the life they were leading, and in this she succeeded in a measure far beyond the hopes conceived by the

Thus Teresa succeeded

Thanks to the saint s prudent ad and the nuns industry, to which her to ministration, a fresh impetus, and to alms sent to her example gave the temporal prosperity of the convent also by friends, returned. The alms she distributed amongst the poorer nuns bread was all she would take herself from the con
Apostolic Visitor.
;

her small expenses being covered by Juana de Ahumada, whose purse was always at her sister s service. Teresa had scarcely six months health, even of the precarious kind which went with her by that name, during the time she was at the Incarnation. She was attacked by fever and sore throat, followed in the Christmas of the year 1571 by quinsy, but she accepted these troubles with her usual courage. She felt herself too necessary to her daughters to absent herself more than she could help from choir or recreation. When I see," she writes to her sister the progress Juana, wrought by our Lord among the nuns here, I try never
vent,
"
"

to

keep

my

writing to

bed except when I have fever." Dona Maria de Mendoza, she says

Again,
:

"I

tell

you my aches and pains in order to excuse myself for not having written to you. God, in order to show me, as St. Paul says, that in Him we can do all things, has
deprived

me

of the

little
I

strength

ordinarily possess
to
.
.

and yet
quires.

in spite of this

have been able

do
.

all

He

re

I sometimes As far as laugh at myself. anything can be done for my body, it must be owned I

APPOINTMENT OF CONFESSORS

369

want nothing. I am surrounded with care and com passion. Our nuns are so good and peaceful. I cannot thank God sufficiently for the change He has worked

Those who gave most trouble at first are now are the most contented, and the kindest to me. There are in truth some great servants of God here, and the majority are making progress in perfection. My prioress it is who has worked these wonders. So that there should be no doubt about it, our Lord has willed that I should be in such a state that it would appear as if I came here in order to fly penance. My time is taken up in nursing myself."
in them. the ones

who

The saint s humility deceived no one but herself. The nuns of the Incarnation soon learned to appre ciate the mother who had been sent to them. She
had not long been prioress before they applied to her to choose a confessor for them. Teresa was fully aware of the importance of this appointment, and had waited for them to express a wish on the subject in order that she might transmit it to the Apostolic Visitor. After consulting with her, Fr. Hernandez appointed ^ Fr. John of the Cross, and Fr. Mathias, who was also
a religious of the discalced Rule, to the post of con

Convent of the Incarnation. Fr. John of was at this time rector of the college of Alcala, which had been recently founded. Learning and piety flourished under his rule, for this holy priest was as much in his element in forming the character of the students under him, and training them to the spiritual life, as in instructing them in philosophy and rhetoric. To many, conscious of possessing talents such as his, it would have been no small sacrifice to give up this important post to become confessor to a community of nuns. But Fr. John of the Cross had
fessors to the

the Cross

no thought except for


2 B

God

glory; and, pleased to

370

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

second Teresa in a work for souls, he put himself at once at her orders.

wooden hermitage outside the enclosure was made over to him and his companion, and the life led there
by these two holy religious recalled in their poverty and penance the early beginnings of the Order at Duruelo. The Carmelite community, with Teresa for their mother, and Fr. John of the Cross for their spiritual father, bid fair to rival before long their sisters of the Reform in their fervour and love of self-sacrifice.

An

interesting

document preserved

in the archives of

the Order o ogives us an idea of the virtues held in honour in a convent which but one year previously was a prey to abuses, and given over to tepidity. The discalced Carmelites of Pastrana had lately

admitted a young

man

of

distinguished

birth

and

talents, and of great piety, Fr. Gratian of the Mother of God, into their novitiate, of whom we shall hear

much,

later, in

connection with the saint

undertakings.

Fr. Gratian had been brought in close relations with Fr. John of the Cross, the latter having been his first master of novices. It was therefore probably through the medium of Fr. John that he sent a cartel to the nuns of the Incarnation challenging them, in knightly fashion, to enter the lists against him and his brethren of Pastrana each party having to declare what sacrifices were they prepared to make in the service of their Master. The idea delighted Teresa. She communicated
"
"

the contents of Fr. Gratian s letter to her daughters at recreation, and after consulting with them returned the

following charming answer to him


"

JESU MARIA, Having read the challenge,

it

appeared

to us

that our strength would never be able to allow of our entering into single combat with such valiant and

A NOTABLE CHALLENGE
Their victory being assured they all our possessions, and perhaps even discouraged to the extent of giving up the little we were able for. In the presence of these facts no one has signed, least of all Teresa of Jesus. This is absolute truth and no fiction. But for all this we have made up our minds to try our strength, and engage in this pleasant pastime and thus, possibly, some clay, with the help of those who take part in the encounter, we may feel ourselves equal to accepting
intrepid

knights.

would leave us stripped of

the

challenge."

The
"if

for victuals (namely, counsels

draws up the conditions. She asks and encouragement), for we were starved out, what honour or credit would
be to the
conquerors?"

saint then

there

Then she allows her

daughters to enter the lists, assuming always that the conditions will be fulfilled. Every knight, or son of the Blessed Virgin who will pray daily that Sister Beatriz Suarez may preserve the grace of God, and that He will accord her the favour of never speaking without reflecting beforehand, and always acting for His honour and glory, shall receive in exchange two years of the merit she may gain in nursing some very troublesome invalids. Sister Ana de Bergas declares that if the beforementioned knights and brothers will ask from God that she should be delivered from a contradiction that she endures, and give her the grace of she will
"

surrender to them prayers are heard.


"

all

humility, the merit she will gain

if

her

Mother sub-prioress says that if they will obtain for her that she should renounce all will of her own, she over to them all the merit she will^make gains by this sacrifice for two years. Her name is Isabella of the Cross.
;

To

that

member

of the Order of our

Lady and knight

372

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

who, considering the poverty in which Jesus Christ was born and died, should obtain for her that interior poverty which she has vowed to the Divine Master,
Sister

Ana

before

The

de Miseria offers the merit she will acquire for repentance of her sins." engagements continue in the same strain sweet

Him

ness, humility, obedience, the graces of a lively faith

and a perfect contrition, are those specially asked for; graces are also asked for the Order. A long life for Mother Teresa is the only temporal blessing asked for. Prayers, and part of the merit asked for by humiliations,
interior
trials,

or bodily sufferings, are promised in

exchange.

Our saint concludes with her characteristic challenge: Teresa of Jesus gives to that knight of our Lady who once a day forms a firm resolution to put up all his life with an incapable superior of the worst possible character, half of what she will merit on that same day from the many pains she endures, and everything else, which after all is but little. The contract is signed
"

for a

month and a

half."

Notwithstanding the cares of her office, the holy mother watched closely over her convents of the Reform. The prioress of St. Joseph s Avila never gave an order of any importance without submitting

Amongst the papers signed by and in the archives is one authorizing Teresa, preserved Sister Anne of St. Bartholomew to pronounce her vows. This privileged soul, who from her earliest years had received astounding supernatural favours from God, w as specially cherished by our saint. In the last years of her life Teresa seemed hardly to be able to dispense with her services, and it was leaning against her heart pure as that of an angel that Teresa breathed her All the other houses of the Reform had recourse last.
it
r

beforehand to her.

EXCESS

IN

AUSTERITIES

373

The prioress of Vallaequally to her for directions. dolid was involved in difficulties with the excellent foundress Dona Maria de Mendoza, who wished to saddle the community with two undesirable subjects, in spite of their obvious disqualifications. 1 Teresa, with her usual gentleness and tact, persuaded Dona Maria to
withdraw these novices. At Alba de Tormes the saint exercised her vigilance over the prioress, Mother Juana of the Holy Ghost,
she reproved for excessive austerities, such as likely before long to cause injury to health. am much displeased at these fasts," she writes. "God deliver me from those \vho prefer their own will to holy

whom

were

"I

obedience."

It is

not the

first

time

we have had
exercises

that

excess

in

penitential

occasion to notice was almost the

only defect which Teresa found necessary to reprove in the monasteries of the Reform. If, however, she re
less rejoiced at

proaches them for want of prudence, her heart doubt seeing them consumed with the same

desire

which

filled

hers

"

either to suffer or to

die."

case, as soon as her fever left her, she returned to her hair-shirt and discipline, owning that her worst penance was to be forced to dis

And we know

that in her

own

pense with it. If we reckon up the occupations that filled the saint s the correspondence, religious life, conferences, in
dispensable visits monasteries, and
parlour, direction of her other matters joined to a health always deplorable, we are tempted to ask what became of her interior life? Within a few months of the saint s arrival at the
to

the

many

Incarnation, on the eve of the Feast of St. Sebastian,


1

Letters, Avila,
Ibid.,

March

7th, 1572.

September

27th, 1572.

374

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


nuns were assembled in the large oratory first Chapter had been held, in order to sing

1572, the

where the
the Salve.

The

statue of our

Lady

still

occupied the

prioress s stall, and as Teresa advanced into the middle of the room to intone the anthem, she suddenly per

ceived that the statue had disappeared and the Blessed Virgin had taken its place. Teresa remained standing,
rapt in ecstasy, with eyes radiant and fixed on her holy Mother. A multitude of angels surrounded their queen, and \vere ranged in a circle above the nuns The oratory seemed transformed into paradise. stalls. Teresa s vision lasted all the time the Salve was sung. When it was over Teresa, at the pressing entreaty of her nuns, communicated the words our Lady had addressed to her: "Thou hast done well, daughter," she said, "to put me here. I shall be present at the

praises in

honour of my Son sung by the nuns monastery, and will present them to Him."
1

of this

Carmelites, in gratitude for Mary s protection, the kept prioress s place vacant in her honour, and,

The

esteeming themselves unworthy to occupy stalls which angels had graced, sat on footstools below them. These precious recollections survive to this day. The pilgrim to Avila looking through the curtains of the grille beholds a statue of our Lady with the monastery keys in her hands, and a row of empty stalls to right and left, still piously decorated with flowers.
at the little communion-table in the nuns below the oratory of which we have just spoken, choir, that Teresa used daily to receive the Bread of Angels from the hands of St. John of the Cross. She had said to him on one occasion with her usual simplicity, 44 I know, Father, it is not a matter of the smallest importance; but 1 do love large hosts." On the
It

was

TERESA S VISIONS

375

octave of the feast of St. Martin, 1572, Teresa was kneeling at the grille waiting to receive Holy Com munion when she saw that Fr. John was breaking the She host in two, reserving one-half for one of the nuns. At it in order to her. he was mortify thought doing that moment our Lord," Teresa says, "appeared to me in an imaginary vision, as He had often done He gave me His right hand and said Behold before. it is a symbol of our espousals from this this nail day you shall be My spouse. Up to this time you did
"

not deserve this favour, but henceforth you shall look as your Creator, your King, but you shall have a care of My honour as My true Spouse.

upon Me not only

My honour shall be yours and yours Mine. This grace produced such an effect upon me that I could no O Lord, I cried, change my longer contain myself. baseness, or do not bestow so many favours on me.
{

I passed the rest of the day immersed in spiritual joy. Great profit accrued to my soul therefrom, and a greater confusion at the thought that I had nothing to give my God in return for His benefits." This signal favour marks the first beginnings of the highest and last period of St. Teresa s spiritual life. A transformation has taken place in her. shall no longer see her swoon away in ecstasy at our Saviour s voice, or when lie discovers Himself to her sight. She now rests in a silence, and calm which can only be

We

described as being full of strength. A perfect harmony has been established within her between the gifts of It is the noon-day of grace and her natural faculties. her sanctity, a period which was to last for a term of ten
years in which she will have to endure trials crucify ing to the heart, but which will leave her soul in peace. On one occasion our Lord appeared to her and said 4i What would you ask of Me that I am not willing to
:

376

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


for
I

do

you

You know
is

the
I

bond

that unites us.

give you claim everything you wish from My Father as if it was already yours." Once, when a violent headache prevented her going on with her prayer, He said, "Think you that merit consists in enjoyment? No, daughter, but in working, in The souls the most beloved suffering, and in loving. of My Father are those whom He has the most tried, and the greatness of His trials is the measure of His love for them." Sometimes He gave her advice accord If ing to the circumstances in which she was placed. it is a question between poverty and charity, since love is best, you should neither deprive yourself nor your nuns of that which will excite it in your souls. Keep therefore the statue you thought of giving up." Another time He said "To found safety on spiritual sweetness is to deceive yourself. The true testimony is a good conscience. The truly humble are they who know what they can accomplish, and what I can

that

My

possess Passion.

yours.

My

All labours and

You may

"

accomplish."

One day when Teresa was distressed because she was unable to keep abstinence, He said "Have a care, daughter; there is sometimes more self-love than fervour in these desires for fastings." Another time, when she was unhappy at being always at work, and thought how much purer her soul would be if it was not taken up with worldly cares, our Lord answered But is true it could not be otherwise. exert yourself to have a pure intention and great detachment from creatures. See how I Myself acted,
:

"It

and your actions will become conformed to Mine." 1 Sometimes, instead of conversing with her, our Lord held her absorbed in contemplation, and in one of
1

These
iv.

citations

are

taken

from

Teresa

Relations,

Nos.

in.

and

TERESA
these
the

IN

ECSTACY

377

moments she enjoyed, in an intellectual vision, l Fr. John presence of the most Holy Trinity. of the Cross shared Teresa s devotion to this great
mystery.

It is related that on Trinity Sunday the two saints were conversing, separated by the convent grille, and that as St. John held forth in burning language about the mystery which the Church celebrates that day, the heavens appeared to open, and their two souls, united in this sublime contemplation, soared upwards to the supreme Good, a glimpse of which had been vouch safed to them. Whilst they were thus rapt in ecstasy,

Sister

message

Beatrice of Jesus, the portress, came to give to the prioress. She knocked no one
;

answered.
saints

She opened the door, and beheld the two lifted up into the air in an ecstasy St. John
;

holding on to the chair, vainly attempting to struggle with the force which impelled him upwards, St. Teresa still on her knees, and also miraculously raised above

ground. News of the wondrous sight spread rapidly through the convent, and many came to witness it. The saint, interrogated afterwards by her answered "That is what comes of daughters, talking with Fr. John. Not only does he fall into an ecstasy, but he carries others away with him In tracing the events of Teresa s earlier life, and following her from one prodigy to another in her upward ascent, we may sometimes have marvelled what God reserved for her later years. The treatise on prayer, which she wrote five years before her death, is an answer to such ques tions. This work reveals that on which her humility would have fain kept silence. The seventh abode in
the
:
"

Spiritual writers are agreed that revelations with regard to the Blessed Trinity belong; to the highest degrees of the See mystical life. seventh abode in her Cnsllc of the Soul.

378

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

her Castle of the Soul is a true picture of the state Her of her soul during the last ten years of her life. habitual reticence is insufficient to conceal the facts, for no one could write as she does on matters above all

We
it

human ken without having

learnt
state

them by experience.
;

have given an account already of the vision which

introduced her into this

new

the saint described

under the name of spiritual espousals, making use of that word, she says, for want of a better one. Human words translate God s secrets imperfectly. To express them properly we should require the tongues
It is therefore only possible to convey the of angels. ideas through imperfect images and similitudes. In the first place, we see the great difference which

makes between this favour and those that preceded it. At that sublime moment, when our Saviour gave her a token of His espousals with her, under the form of a nail, mystic symbol of His sacred Passion, she was made to understand that His Sovereign Majesty deigned to unite itself to her lowness by so close a bond that the saint does not hesitate to call it a little Thus immersed in God, indissoluble.
the saint
"as

stream flowing into the sea mingles its waters with those of the ocean in such a manner that they cannot be separated," she died to herself, and could say with the Apostle, live now not I, but Christ liveth
"I

in

me."

grace were even more admirable have said," 1 Teresa writes, that the soul, raised by this divine alliance dies to her own life in the unspeakable joy of finding her true repose, and that Jesus Christ lives in her." Let us now see what this life is, and by what signs it manifests
effects of this

The

than the grace


"

itself.

"I

itself.

The
1

first

is

a self-oblivion

so
ch,

great that
ill.

it

Seventh abode, Castle of the Soul,

EFFECTS OF DIVINE GRACE


would truly appear as if being had no meaning She no longer knows herself with regard to heaven, life, honour have no meaning all her
; ;

379
for her.

herself, interest
s

is

centred
to

in

gaining
"

words
I

her, will take care of

glory to God. Occupy yourself with


yours,"

Our Lord

My

interests,

are words

and works with

The second effect is a great desire for suffering, but one which no longer afflicts her as it previously did. She desires so ardently that the will of God should be accomplished in her, that whatever seems But this is good to Him pleases her likewise. what most astonishes us this soul who formally en dured life as if it was a martyrdom, so impatient was she to enjoy God s presence, is now so consumed with the desire to serve Him, to cause His name to be praised, to make herself of use to other souls, that far from desiring death, she would fain live long years in the midst of the greatest sufferings, happy if she could at that price purchase for her Divine Master the smallest
her.
.
.

increase of that glory which He deserves. Her happi ness and her glory is to immolate herself for the Cruci

One, when she considers how many offences are committed against Him, and how few souls there are detached from creatures who seek His honour alone.
fied

going out of the desert with God in Heaven, appeals very tenderly to her at times but she soon renounces it, satisfied by possessing Him in that intimate manner I have described, and offering Him the voluntary acceptation of a long life as the greatest proof of love that she can give Him. "In this soul," Teresa con cludes by saying, "there are no aridities, no interior If she is but sufferings, but a sweet and constant joy. inattentive for a moment to her Saviour s Presence, He Himself reveals it to her. He labours at her perIt
is

true that the desire of


life,

of this

to find herself

3 8o

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

fection, and teaches her without the smallest disturb ance in a peace so profound that it recalls to me the

building of Solomon

God

s
s

Temple,

in

The soul is, in truth, s Temple. which God and the soul enjoy each
all

other

Thus

presence in the midst of a great silence." total self-abnegation, the assemblage of


faculties in

the

human
its

one perpetual act of love


s

this in all

grandeur and simplicity means God


soul.
!

reign in the

human
comes
"

Happy

the soul to

whom

this

kingdom
the

Formerly,"

the saint goes on to say,

"when

soul

was consumed with ardent desires

to be united to

God, the smallest occasion, such as pious hymns, or a holy picture, sufficed to raise her into an ecstasy. But now circumstances most fitted to excite her devotion Whether it is cease to produce these effects on her. that she has now found a place of rest, or, for some reason of which I am ignorant, she is delivered from this weakness which was formerly as habitual as it was
distressing to her.
It may be that the reason is because God has strengthened her, enlarged her soul, and so
"

rendered her capable of supporting His favours It is Yes because she has become stronger, because every day she is more closely united greater to God that the rays of divine grace enlighten her now without dazzling her. The gaze of the dove has now acquired the strength of the eye of the eagle, and can Instead of being contemplate the sun of justice. absorbed by contemplation, it can give itself up with equal facility and ardour to the Master s work. "The company she enjoys gives her a strength such as she had never possessed. If by living with saints one becomes a saint, as it is said, how would it be possible that the soul who is one with the strong God should not participate in His power? This super! ! ;

TERESA
and

UNION WITH GOD

381

natural strength is often communicated to the senses faculties, so that the body itself profits visibly by This is the explanation of this mysterious vigour."

we perceive in St. Teresa. God consummated His union with her soul when she was on the eve of a crisis that required all her powers and we shall see her, strong in the strength of God, tread with a holy joy a road sown with thorns, which though
the change which
;

they

may

pierce her feet will never arrest her progress.

CHAPTER
in the

XXII

summer

from the prioress of Salamanca, informing her that an opportunity offered of giving up the un healthy house which they had inhabited so long for one which was both convenient and well situated. The proprietor of this house, Pedro de la Vanda, was not able to sell it without permission from the king s
letter
it being entailed, but being pressed for money he was ready to take steps to do so. The Visitor authorized Teresa s departure at the nuns entreaty, her concurrence to these proceedings being urgently

a EARLY

of 1573 the saint received

council,

required. Accordingly, leaving the sub-prioress in charge of the convent of the Incarnation, the saint set out for Salamanca early in August. The little company included one of the nuns of the

Incarnation, Fr. Anthony, and Fr. Julian, chaplain and biographer to the saint. They were mounted on donkeys and mules, and, as Fr. Julian relates: "The sun at midday being very trying to the holy mother, we set off towards evening and at the first start,
;

before reaching the nearest village, Fr. Anthony fell off his saddle, without, however, injuring himself, thanks to God s mercy." This was not their only misfortune. Teresa was taking the sum of five hundred
ducats, the

amount

of

Anne
it

manca, having destined

as

of Jesus s dowry, to Sala first instalment for the

payment

of the

new house.
for
3B2

The money, and some

ornaments required

the altar, were loaded on a

TERESA GOES TO SALAMANCA

383

baggage mule which formed part of the cavalcade. Unfortunately the night was dark, and everybody
being occupied in keeping out of the many pitfalls which lined the road, it was only on their arrival at the inn that it was discovered that this particular mule was missing. Search was made for it in all directions, but to the general consternation no trace of the animal could be found. The saint alone was unmoved, and
in the

The boy had


intact.

morning she despatched a child to look for it. he found it browsing not far to go
;

at a short distance

from the inn,

its

valuable burthen

The following night there was still greater cause for alarm, for when the travellers arrived at the
inn where they were to sleep, it was discovered that It was not till the holy mother was not of the party. the night was far advanced that their anxiety was relieved. No greater mishap had occurred than that
of the mule on which she was mounted having wan dered off the path finally, on meeting an honest peasant he had put her on the right road, so that she was enabled to rejoin her companions. 1 On arriving at Salamanca Teresa visited de la Vanda s house, and finding it suitable for her purpose concluded the bargain. No time was to be lost, as considerable changes had to be made to the building before it could be used as a monastery, and unless the community were able to take possession before Michael mas Day they would have had to pay a year s rent for the house they were then occupying. To the joy of her daughters Teresa now shut herself up in the cloister, leaving the task of carrying out her plans to Fr. Julian. She found much cause for consolation in the little com
;

munity

at

Salamanca.
1

If austerities of

an astounding

nature were less sought after there than in


Julian d Avila.

some

of her

384

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

other convents, she perceived in these holy souls a spirit of penance no less edifying, which caused them to accept fastings, and privations, and the discomforts of a damp and insalubrious house with joyous and
intrepid hearts. the sisterhood,

Glory for God alone, consolation for sorrow and suffering for self this In suffer might have been the motto of each one. a young nun, Anne of the Trinity, was heard to ing," one must never stop to take breath, one must say, go straight on." Isabella of the Angels asked only one thing of Jesus His cross and on one occasion
:
"

"

of Jesus, having reproved her for hurrying over the words Ouando consolaberis me" whilst reciting O her
"
1

Anne

(S-

Forgive me, mother, but how should ask consolations of God when I am conscious I only deserve punishment ? 1 Teresa received the confi dences of these youthful souls, encouraged them in their interior life, and helped them. Anne of Jesus she specially singled out in this way the holy mother
Office, she said,
I
"
"

had a maxim that great virtue is a very dangerous thing unless it is accompanied with great humility accordingly she never lost an opportunity of trying her, and yet, in spite of rebuke and humiliation, not a word of excuse or impatience ever passed her daughter s
;

lips.

time that Teresa began the history Like all her other works, it was written in obedience to her confessor. When he gave her the order she was occupied with so many things, and in such bad health, that she thought it would be our impossible for her to execute it. "Daughter,"
It

was about

this

of her Foundations.

Lord said
strength."
"with

to

her,

"obedience

gives the necessary

That same day she took up her pen, and


1

a great desire to contribute thus to the glory


Hist, of
tlic

Order.

TERESA WRITES HER


of
God,"

"FOUNDATIONS" 385

she began to tell the story of the wonder ful thing s God had accomplished on behalf of the seven monasteries founded since that of St. Joseph of
Avila.

meanwhile had not been idle. The case was urgent, and the workmen had laboured under his supervision with such goodwill that, on the eve of the feast, only fine weather was required to enable them
Fr. Julian

to put the last finishing touches to the building. fortunately the morning of the 28th broke in torrents

Un

and it was under this watery sky that the Carmelites transferred themselves to their new abode. They there discovered that the roof was not finished,
of rain
;

and accordingly
inundated.
Jesus, to

that

the

sanctuary,
struck,"

where
Sister

it

was
of

necessary to prepare three altars for the


"Eight

morrow, was

o clock

Anne

an account of the day, relates, "and our mother was still anxiously looking at holy the roof of the chapel, through which the rain was I came to her with two other nuns, and penetrating. her very firmly said to You know, reverend how much there to is be done before to mother,
:

whom we owe

you really might beg of God to stop the as to give us time to arrange the altars. so rain, Then if it is so necessary, you should pray hard, she said, a little annoyed at the confidence I had so openly expressed in her prayers. I left her, and had hardly returned to a neighbouring courtyard when I

morrow
*

looked out and saw a cloudless sky, looking as if it had never rained before. I went straight back and said to her before the same witnesses, Your reverence might really have asked for this fine weather a little sooner. This time the saint could not help laughing, and went away without saying anything. The next day, fine weather, a great crowd, and an excellent
2

386

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


made
the

sermon

ceremony of

installation

very

impressive

one."

The troubles of the community were not, however, concluded. The proprietor, de la Vanda, returned to Salamanca directly afterwards and insisted on being paid in full for the house, instead of by instalments. The saint managed to pacify him for the time by her gentleness and tact, but he recommenced giving trouble later on, and the community had to suffer for
ten long years from his
"My

humours and
to

his exactions.

poor
"

daughters,"

Teresa wrote

them, on one

occasion, may God help you to suffer joyfully. It matters little whether our habitations in this life be convenient or inconvenient, as long as, when we leave
1 them, the eternal mansions are open to receive Teresa, with Fr. Hernandez s permission, prolonged
us."

her stay at Salamanca for some months longer there was, indeed, little necessity for her return to the Incar nation when her mission was accomplished, and where On the the sub-prioress ruled peacefully in her place. were in other hand, several monasteries of the Reform her trouble, and the saint could help them only by
;

presence amongst them. At Valladolid the convent had to combat the resent ment of a powerful family, that of the de Padillas. The cause of this enmity deserves a few words of ex
planation.

Casilda de Padilla 2 was the youngest of three chil dren her father had died when she was in her infancy; her eldest brother, heir to the family honours and
;

property,
Jesus.

left

all

in

order to join the

Company

of

eldest sister, called likewise to a higher life, stripped herself of her right to the succession in favour of Casilda. The relations, fearing possibly that
1

Her

Foundations^ ch. xix.

Ibid., ch. xi.

CASILDA DE PADILLA

387

the latter might follow her brother and sister s example,


affianced her, according to the strange custom of the country, at eleven years of age to her father s youngest

brother. Casilda, the chronicler relates, pleased with the gifts and attentions showered on her, and attached to her bridegroom, seemed at first perfectly satisfied

But God spoke to her heart as He had and sister. One day the young girl presented herself at the grille of the Car The nuns refused to take melites to ask admission. her on account of her extreme youth, and, backed up
with her
fate.

done

to that of her brother

by her confessor, persuaded her to return to her family. second time, two years later, and yet a third time Casilda returned to ask the same favour. Finally her perseverance was rewarded, and she was given the The reproaches of her family followed her, and habit. the community had much to suffer from the outcry raised by her powerful and influential friends for long The anxieties endured by the Car years afterwards. melites of Valladolid and Salamanca were more than

The Princess of Eboli equalled by those at Pastrana. 1 a in had been left widow July of this same year, I573.
of her husband s death was great, and with mind almost unhinged by sorrow she insisted on being clothed in the habit of the Carmelite Order in the very room where the prince was laid out previous to his burial. When all was over she left her palace, a into got carriage, and gave orders that she should be

The shock

taken straight to the convent. Fr. Baltasar, learning her intention, had preceded her there, in order to acquaint the prioress with the news. What, my the princess a nun here! she exclaimed, father," Then the community is lost indeed Mother Isabella had undoubtedly grasped the situation. The princess
" "
"

Boll.

IVo. 596.

388

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

directly on arriving that she had not changed her character with her garments, and she began at once She to impose her imperious will on the community. insisted, first of all, on two of her waiting-women being clothed on the spot. The prioress said it was impossible

showed

without the superior s authorization. The princess was furious at the reply, and the prior of the convent of the He gave his permission, and discalced was sent for.
this time the

princess

was

satisfied.

But her

satis

Never Nothing in her own palace even had the great lady showed such It sufficed for anyone to caprices and such temper. offer her anything for her to reject it, and the smallest refusal necessitated by the Rule threw her into a fury. The day after her arrival the governor, and magistrates and other dignitaries of the town, requested an audience
faction did not last long.

pleased her.

of her,

in order

to

present their condolences.

The

princess insisted on receiving them in the cloister, and when the prioress offered to give up the monastery to

her to
the

make use of as she pleased, community to follow their Rule

if

in

she would allow any little corner

of the building, her answer was, that "She thanked the prioress for her advice, but as the monastery

belonged to her she would make what use she chose


of
it."

Teresa, informed by Mother Isabella of what was going on at Pastrana, tried in vain to extricate the nuns from their terrible dilemma without hurting the feelings of their foundress. Finally, a new fancy led the princess to establish herself in a hermitage in the garden. After spending a few weeks there she went to stay at a neighbouring house, and at last betook her
self home. Conscious that she had covered herself with ridicule by her caprices, the princess took her revenge by giving orders that the church, which was

TROUBLES AT PASTRANA
being built
at her expense,

389

should be stopped.

She

also withdrew her alms, as well as those given by the prince, to the support of the community, thus reducing

them

to dire distress.

The

saint

was deeply concerned

at these tidings,

how much
fear
for

though less (as she said) at hearing her poor daughter had to suffer, than from
souls

their

oppressed

by these chains of

slavery.

Whilst she was at Salamanca, Teresa was inspired to a Foundation at Segovia. A pious widow of that Ana de offered what was necessary to town, Ximena, make a beginning, and her cousin Andres undertook to arrange matters with the authorities. Not long after wards Teresa received an invitation from the rector of Veas to make a Foundation in that town, which was

make

supported by several members of his congregation. saint forwarded all these petitions to the Apostolic Visitor who surrendered to the reasons she gave in favour of these proposals, though he had been pre

The

viously opposed to her starting any more convents. Teresa s farewells to Salamanca were not made without deep regrets. In the first place it cost her much to leave a young nun, Isabella of the Angels, who was dying. Then the interminable disputes with the proprietor were far from being settled, and the young prioress was scarcely able to cope with these

At Salamanca too the saint enjoyed consolations which she ranked as next in importance to divine ones namely, the learned and enlightened counsels which the eminent doctors of the University Fr. Baltasar Alvarez, "the placed at her disposal. true father of her soul," had recently been appointed rector of the Jesuit college there. He not only visited her
difficulties.
:

occasionally, but he had brought her a young student, a scion of the house of Braganza, to initiate into the

3QO

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


life
;

secrets of the interior


to love like a son.

this

youth Teresa soon got

Salamanca in February 1574, taking and Mary of Jesus with her. The Duchess of Alba had obtained permission from Fr. Hernandez to receive a two days visit from Teresa on and the latter, her way to her convent at Alba her the of bareness accustomed to convents, was struck
saint left
sisters

The

Isabella

"When by the grandeurs of the palatial residence. I was first shown into a she writes, magnificent hall," "crowded with works of art, and an infinite variety of rare and precious objects, I marvelled to what use

then the thought came such treasures could be put to me that the beauty and variety of all these works of art should lead me to praise God." 1 Passing on to the monastery two days later, she writes with the same directness and simplicity: have a her I have the and the here I see whence river, mitage same view from the cell where I sleep, so that I can enjoy the prospect from my bed, which pleases me much." Thus we see that Teresa was equally sensible of the beauties of art and nature, but she used them as a means of leading her thoughts from the contemplation
;
"I

She profits by a things to the infinite. Alba to her from to send letters tender messenger a at to send Salamanca also present to a daughters Dominican Father whom she esteemed for his learning and piety, but of whom she had not so far been able to make a friend. "Here, my dear mother," she writes to the prioress, is a trout which the duchess sent me
of
finite
;
"

yesterday.
it

It appears to me so good that I am sending dear I trust it Fr. de Medina. Bartholomew my will arrive in time for his dinner. Let it be taken to him directly with this card. Even if it is too late, send

to

Sixth abode, Castle, ch.

IV.

FOUNDATION AT SEGOVIA
it

39 1

all

the same.

Let us see
1

now

if

this will

produce a

letter

from

him."

of

Antonio Gaytan, hearing undergone by the saint at all her he leave to go with her; asked Foundations, to than more him undergo said, nothing pleased Fr. John fatigue and suffering for the love of God." of the Cross and Fr. Julian were also of the party. On our way," the latter relates, I asked our mother if she had got the Bishop of Segovia s permission in
of the of

good man

name

the troubles
"

"for,"

"

"

writing.

his promise is all that is she said, then became very uneasy, as I knew the necessary. from was home, and I feared we should away bishop with the into trouble vicar-general." get The Carmelites arrived at Segovia on the iSth of

No,
I

Ana de Ximena had hired a house and pre the pared chapel for them, and on the following day, the feast of St. Joseph, Fr. John of the Cross said Mass, and reserved the Blessed Sacrament in the
March.
tabernacle.

little

later in

way

to the cathedral

the day a canon on his passed by, entered the chapel,

and, touched by its simplicity, was moved to the desire He was still at the altar when the to say Mass there. "What is much displeased. arrived, vicar-general your reverence doing here?" he said. "Can you not "At find a better place in which to say Mass?"
these
words,"

Fr. Julian tells us, "however great the

canon

devotion had been previously, it departed very The vicar-general inquired who had pre sumed to found a monastery and open a chapel without leave from him ? He looked about for the culprits. But the moment was unfavourable for finding them,
s
"

quickly

1 Whether the saint s amiability produced Letters, Alba, Feb. 1574. Fr. Bartholomew, a response we know not. But V. tie la Fuentc remarks who began by censuring Teresa, ended by becoming her panegyrist."
"

392

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Fr. Julian having hidden under the staircase, and Gaytan, notwithstanding his courage, having likewise The nuns were invisible behind the disappeared. grille. Only Fr. John, tranquil as usual, remained to face the irate dignitary. "Who has placed the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, Father?" he asked. Go Then, without waiting for an answer, he said,
"

of you, or I will put you into prison." He left without carrying out his threats, but posted a beadle at the door to watch the chapel, and see that his orders
all

were carried out, namely, that the Blessed Sacrament should be taken away, and no public act of worship 1 The saint lost no time in acquainting the performed. vicar-general with the fact that she had been authorized by the bishop to make a Foundation in Segovia, and after a time he showed himself amenable to reason. Before, however, the nuns could get out of the hired house (where they were not allowed to reserve the Blessed Sacrament), and into another which they were enabled, in consequence of the dowry brought by two postulants, to purchase, they had many trials to under Teresa extricated herself from these strifes and go. contentions less by the help of powerful friends than by her charity, and love of peace. The secret of con ciliating adversaries is never wanting to those pos sessed of these last resources. Meanwhile Teresa had
not forgotten the troubles of her daughters at Pastrana.

She had taken counsel with the Apostolic Visitor, the provincial and Fr. Banez, and all were unanimous in advising her to recall them. She therefore confided to Fr. Julian and Antonio Gaytan the mission of help ing them to escape. The prioress, acquainted of this
design by Teresa, sent for the governor of the town, and confided various gifts, formerly given to the con1

Boll.,

No. 593.

FLIGHT FROM PASTRANA

393

The governor vent by the princess, to his care. consented to their departure, but the townspeople resolved to oppose it, and the princess threatened to put a guard at the doors, so that no one should The prioress continued to work leave her monastery. and the day and hour quietly at her preparations when their plans were to be carried out being agreed upon with Fr. Julian, she and her nuns slipped out of the convent in the dark, joined the carriages which were waiting for them at the other side of a hill, and were soon out of danger of pursuit. Teresa mean while was praying hard for them. At one moment her daughters at Segovia saw her clasp her hands in anguish. "Pray," she said, pray for our sisters of Pastrana." Two days later Teresa had the consola tion of welcoming the much-tried sisters at Segovia. Mother Isabella confided to the holy mother that they had been in imminent danger whilst crossing a river
;
"

in

high flood

and the nuns

at

Segovia, comparing

A short time after wards Teresa assisted one of her daughters at Sala manca in an even more marvellous manner.
Isabella of the Angels,
after

notes, found that it was at the exact saint had implored their prayers. 1

moment when

the

months

of suffering,

to that agony. time she had enjoyed had deserted her, and she was torn with anguish, mental and physical. The com who had her since round bed munity prayed daybreak left her for a short time for Mass. On their return a great change was visible joy and peace once more shone on her countenance. Interrogated by the mis tress of novices as to what had happened, she answered: During Mass Mother Teresa came to me, and blessed and caressed me she consoled me in my pains and
;
"

was

in her last

The peace which up

Julian d Avila, Boll., 600.

394

THE

LIF E

OF SAINT TERESA
i

delivered

me from my fears, saying to me, Daughter, do not give way to idle fears. Place all your hope in the Blood and merits of your Spouse, Jesus. God
has great glory in store for you, and this very day you
shall enter into
"

it.

She remained

who approached

in this state, for the consolation of all her, till after matins, when, with
"

crucifix in hand, and the Credo on her lips, after pro et vitam nouncing in a distinct voice the words
eternam"

she

expired.

Whilst these scenes were

taking place at Salamanca, the saint was rapt in so deep an ecstasy that her daughters at Segovia spoke to her several times without being able to rouse her from it. Sister Anne of Jesus, besides testifying to this circumstance, seized an opportunity a year later to question Teresa about it. she says, "as "And," our holy mother was very fond of me she admitted it

was true." A declaration to this effect was made by Mother Anne of Jesus in St. Teresa s process of beati
fication.

Evidences of her prophetic spirit and miracles She revealed multiplied during her stay at Segovia. to the provost, Mgr. Covarrubias, the great destiny which God had in reserve for him. 1 She read her
daughters

most

intimate

thoughts,

and

dissipated

their temptations. Another time she condescended to bless the innocent wishes of a poor little lay sister

whose piety and goodness appealed to her heart. Finally, on the yth of August, the feast of St. Albert, Teresa had a vision of that holy Reformer, and was encouraged by him to pursue her work for the good of
the Order.

The
1

saint s term of office as prioress of the Incarna-

lie

was afterwards made archbishop and president

of the king s

council.

TERESA S PROPHETICAL SPIRIT


tion expiring

395

on the 6th of October, she left Segovia on the 3Oth of September, confiding the community
there to the care of the
the
late

prioress of

Pastrana.

Before
St.

leaving

town,

Dominic, she went to Cross, where the saint had spent

moved by devotion to visit the church of Holy

many years of penance

She received great consolations whilst at this shrine. St. Dominic appeared to her, kneeling and told her of the sufferings he had endured, of the assistance he had received from God, and promised to
and prayer.
help her in her undertakings. The holy prioress found on her arrival at Avila that the community of the Incarnation were determined to re-elect her; and she had much difficulty in dissuad
love this house as my ing them from doing so. mother," she told them, "and you all, my most dear but it is impossible for me to daughters, as sisters Our other houses require my stay longer with you.
"I
;

care."

The nuns then begged of her to choose a successor who would carry on her work. Teresa designated the
elections. 1

a choice which was confirmed at the She returned to St. Joseph s directly after wards as prioress, the community there having, mean Her stay at her Bethlehem was while, elected her. of short duration, as her presence was required at Veas and Valladolid. God alone knew what these constant whilst ignorant and prejudiced changes cost her
sub-prioress
;
"
"

people accused her of leaving her enclosure under any pretext, she owned to a friend that these journeys were her greatest trial, "when I consider but," she added, how faithfully our Lord is served in these convents, all
"

my

Her

pains are as nothing to me." stay at Valladolid was a source of great consola1

Boll.,

No. 6n.

396

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


There are/
"

she said, souls in this convent who give me occasion continually to praise There was, first of all, Casilda de Padilla, who God."
tion to her.

was known to Teresa by the name of the little angel," and who from the day of her clothing had received great Then there was a humble lay sister, gifts of prayer. the of Stephen Apostles, whose soul was insatiable in its desire for penance, and consumed with love of God. But it was in Sister Mary Baptist that Teresa
"

found

all

to see in her daughters.

the perfection that her soul ardently desired It was in the long talks they

had together, which were frequently prolonged far into the night, that the young prioress learnt from her holy mother how to govern souls without relaxing the care
of her own.
to

Proposals for four fresh Foundations came "Time is Teresa whilst she was at Valladolid. de writes to Teutonia she wanting," Braganza, "for all I have got to do. ... I leave here after the

Epiphany. Then I go by way of Medina to Avila, where I spend a day or two and then from Toledo to
;

Veas.

Recommend me
saint
first

Our
at

gave

to our Lord, I implore of you." the habit to Geronyma de Quiroga

the

resting-place of this long expedition

of

Dona Helena came with her hundred leagues. daughter, and asked only one grace of God in return for her sacrifice that of being able one day to follow
:

her example. The sight of the joy of the young novice served as inspiration to Teresa, and she composed verses which were sung in the evening of the feast, of which the refrain was "Maiden, who has brought you here out of the vale of tears? God, and a longing for
:
"

happiness The path she followed on her hurried journey was marked by miracles. On leaving Malagon she was
!

attacked by fever, and remembering Elias in the desert

PATH MARKED BY MIRICLES


she was not afraid to complain with him,
I
"

397

do,

my Lord?

See

the state

am

in."

What shall And at once

she was cured. 1


of her veil to consider her Then, lifting host, Mark Garcia. them more attentively, she said to the mother, pointing to one little boy: Sefiora, that child will be a great

At Almodovar she blessed the eight children

"

saint,

the

reformer of an
for you,

entire

Order."

And

to

Anthony, you my arm yourself with courage, as life has great trials and afflictions in store for you." Then fearing for the Poor effect her words might have on him, she said to will do what but have will you troubles, child, you bear them?" The boy, encouraged by her caresses,
another:
to
"As

little

will

have

"

said firmly:

"I

will take courage,

reverend mother,
I can."

and

suffer
to

them with as much patience as

Then

one of the little girls, she predicted that she turning These pro would have much honour after death. the letter. to verified were phecies Later on, whilst passing through the Sierra Morena, the drivers of their coaches lost their way, and found themselves in a narrow defile with a precipice on either ad side, equal danger threatening them whether they vanced
ejaculated the the intercession through saint; was heard voice a of St. Joseph." powerful Instantly direc a in their retrace them to particular steps telling The drivers, following the orders given, to their tion. astonishment found themselves on a good road, and
or
retreated.
"Pray
hard,"
"ask

God

to save us

looked about to find their guide in order to show their Teresa turning to her daughters gratitude to him. There is not much use in looking; the voice said:

we heard was
him!"*
1

that of St. Joseph,

and they
2

Again, when they reached


Hist, of the Order.

will not find the banks of the


No. 615.

Roll.,

398

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
;

Guadalquivir they were transported to the other side this is the without knowing how they got there an Anne of of eye-witness, from testimony Jesus,

Rumours of the last narrative we quote. miracle had preceded them to Veas accordingly when they reached that town a great number of knights and ladies, as well as the clergy of Veas, came to meet them, and escorted them to the church, and afterwards
whose
;

house of the foundresses, Catherine and Maria de Sandoval. Teresa gives us the history of Catherine at length in her Foundations, and we feel, as we read it, that she was in truth a woman after her own heart. As a young girl Catherine was remarkable for her but once God had touched her pride and ambition heart there were no bounds to the heroism she dis played in His service. Six years before St. Joseph s convent was founded, when she was still hesitating, and praying to God to show her the life to which He In this dream she saw called her, she had a dream. herself led into a monastery, w hcre the nuns were dressed in white with bare feet. The prioress met her and took her by the hand, telling her that she was called to that house, and she then read the Rule and As soon as Catherine awoke she Constitutions to her. wrote these down from recollection, and sought in all directions for an Order corresponding to the one she had heard of in this mysterious manner. Many years passed her father and mother died, and yet she was no nearer realizing her aspirations. Finally she came across a Jesuit Father, to whom she confided her history, showing him also the notes she had written When he saw them he instantly recognized down. that they were those of the discalced Carmelites, and recommended her and her sister, who shared her hopes and intentions, to apply to Mother Teresa. But a fresh
to the
;

FOUNDATION AT VEAS

399

difficulty presented itself, for Catherine had meanwhile fallen into bad health, and was at that time a martyr to

dropsy and gout, so that it seemed out of the question any convent would receive her. Full of faith, how ever, Catherine cried to God to help her, and she was rewarded with an instantaneous cure. Teresa on her arrival at Veas, finding her strong enough to keep the Rule, gave her and her sister the Both one and the habit on the feast of St. Matthias. other made over all they possessed to the convent without a stipulation of any sort, and when Teresa asked as she had done before to the novice at Toledo,
that
"What will

happen

to

you

if

we cannot keep
"We

you?"

like the novice

they replied:

will serve

you

at

the door as portresses, and if you cannot feed us will beg our bread in the city for the love of God."

we
to

When the saint presented her Catherine, she went straight up to


and said
to

companions

Anne

of Jesus,

her:
in

"This

is

my

prioress.

She

it

is

dream. I give her my obedience." Without knowing it she confirmed Teresa s choice, for the saint had brought Anne of Jesus to Veas with the
I

whom

saw

my

intention of
1

making her

prioress.
s first

This Foundation was Teresa

in

Andalusia

without knowing

it

she had crossed the frontier of Castile.

CHAPTER
r
I

XXIII

was now sixty years old. Her infirmities, joined to the extreme fatigues of the last thirteen years of her life, had aged her physically before her time. Though her ardent heart, her indomitable energy, and

^ERESA

an intelligence which seemed to become always more luminous, enabled her to thank God for renewing each year her youth, it did not restore her worn-out body. It was in this state of health, therefore which had been but now ruined that was always precarious, she entered into that course of trials to which her biographers have given the name of her Gethsemane. The hour had come for her, as it had done for her Divine Master, to drink the chalice of bitterness to the But as Jesus condescended to receive help last dregs. in His agony from an angel, so He gave Teresa a support in those last years worthy of herself. Before embarking on this part of her history, it is necessary that we should know something of the religious to

whom was

granted the privilege of partaking the sufferings of the holy mother, and of softening them by his filial devotion.
1 Jerome Gratian of the Mother of God had worn the habit of our Lady three years at this time. He was one of twenty children born to Don Diego Gratian de Aldarete and his wife Dona Juana Dantisco. His father had been secretary first to Charles V and then to his son Philip II he was also a man of letters, a poet, and

Fr.

History of the Order, Vol.

II,

Bk.

I,

chs. XX.

and

xxi.

400

FATHER JOHN GRATIAN


a historian.

401

Hi:; mother was the daughter of a Polish ambassador, and a woman of great piety, as well as of considerable mental gifts. Fr. Gratian was brought up at the Jesuits College in Madrid, from whence he passed to the university of Alcala. His talents showed themselves at an early age, and his college and uni versity career were marked by a series of triumphs. His piety and goodness were proof against successes which would have turned weaker heads and his studies, far from leading him away from the practice
;

and at twenty-four he was ordained, and shortly after wards made a Doctor of Divinity. His intention at that time had been to join the Jesuits, but circumstances
having intervened to postpone his admittance into their novitiate, his thoughts turned to the Order of Carmel. His biographer tells us that this attraction was in
due,
the
first place, to

of prayer, showed him the insufficiency of learning to At an early age he satisfy the cravings of the heart. was conscious that God called him to a religious life,

a great devotion to our

had had since childhood, and because as a student of Alcala he had constantly come across members of the discalced Order of Carmelites, who had a convent
there,

Lady which he

great took place in his heart. Our Lady seemed to attract him with irresistible force to her Order, and human nature fought against the life of penance to which he would be condemned by such a

and was partly repelled and partly attracted by what he heard of their austere way of life. A

struggle then

choice.

Grace triumphed. He was asked by the prioress of the convent at Alcala to preach on the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel. To do justice to the subject he had to study the origin and privileges of the Order, which necessarily increased his veneration for it. So
2
I)

402

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

eloquent was he, and so persuasive were his words, that his great friend, Dr. Juan Rocca, who came to hear him, made a resolution to give up the world on the spot, and soon after entered the Order of Carmel. Though he was delighted to hear of the conquest he had made, Fr. Gratian allowed his friend to go alone to Pastrana. Shortly afterwards he went himself to the Carmelite convent at Pastrana to arrange about the admission of a novice. Oh St. Teresa tells us the outcome of this visit. the marvellous secrets of God Fr. Gratian, led by our Lady to Pastrana, went there quite in error as to
"

the object of his journey. He only thought of arranging for the reception of a novice, and our Lord intended to

give this grace to him.

Fr. Gratian

has such a

charm in conversation that it is impossible to speak to him without conceiving an affection for him. What
happened elsewhere occurred at Pastrana the prioress was so delighted with his good qualities that she had a great wish to secure them for the Order. She spoke of this afterward to the nuns, and showed them the im
;

portance of the
or
.
. .

affair

for at that time there

were few

Reform who united all his All took the matter to heart, and set to merits. work by fasts, and disciplines, and constant prayer to obtain it. Their prayer was heard. Fr. Gratian visited our fathers monastery at Pastrana, and he was much struck by the regularity and recollection he saw there, and the facilities given for serving God also at the thought that the Order was specially dedicated to our Lady whom he had ever wished to honour with all his
none belonging
to the
;

power. He resolved not to return to the world. The devil put great difficulties into his mind, representing But to him the distress it would occasion his parents. Fr. Gratian, confiding the care of those he was about

THE ORDER OF THE DISCALCED


to

403

leave to God,

asked for our Lady

habit.

The

discalced Fathers hastened to give it to him. It was a great joy to all, and especially to the prioress and her daughters, who knew not how sufficiently to thank
Fr. Gratian happy conquest of Mary s em braced the Rule in all its rigour, with a courage to which his strength was not always equal. Before he was out of the novitiate his prior him to
God."

employed

preach and give conferences, and even confided the direction of the other novices to him. With bare feet Fr. Gratian used to scour the neighbouring hamlets,

preaching and instructing the ignorant, then returned to a dinner of herbs or His vegetables, and bad fish. health gave way under these trials, and he was

strongly
Tri

tempted

to give

up

his vocation.

Again grace

umphed, and he made peace, on March 28th,


"

his vows, with restored joy and Teresa was fifty-eight on 1573.
"

had permitted newly established Foundations in order, I should not have known how to have asked Him to give us such perfection as He was pleased to give us in sending us Fr. Gratian. He came at a time when, if it had not been for my great confi dence in God s mercy, I should have regretted more than once that our Reform had been begun. I allude
houses only. As for those of the nuns, through the goodness of God so far they are
well."

that day. If our Lord," she writes, me to choose one who would set our

to the friars
2

doin<r

friars were a cause of the deepest anxiety to Teresa, though not on account of any sign of decay in fervour amongst them. In the

Already the discalced

Foundations of Altimora, Granada, Seville and La Penuela, which had succeeded those we have already mentioned, there was the same thirst for penance,
1

Foundations^ ch. xxni.

Ibid.

4o 4

THE

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA
True sons

humiliations, and work in God s service. of the anchorites of old, they had scarcely any food but the herbs of the field, no beds but bare earth or planks. of God, or They opened their lips only for the praise bond of the Unfortunately to preach His gospel. in the Teresa monasteries. unity was wanting to the She the situation. of the key following words gives us the carried the Reform friars)
""The

(amongst says: In the first place, seed of speedy decay in its bosom. the to superiors of the they remained under obedience
mitigated province.

Observance, and belonged to no special In the second, they had no Constitutions. Each monastery lived according to its own rules. Some the Reform another thought one way, and some this cause." from underwent great perils with his St. John of the Cross, meanwhile, went on Incarnation. the of the Convent hidden work for souls at His gifts lay more in the direction of souls than in
;

He had trained the those of law-giver or organizer. the of number religious in the souls of the greater
novitiate.

him they owed their spirit of and humility, and an prayer, their self-abnegation to follow, though they de example which all tried Reform required an the But spaired of equalling it.
It

was

to

Fr. exterior action of a different nature from this. natural his and eloquence, Gratian, with his learning

sweetness, dignity, his firmness tempered and connections, was, as even his court influence chosen man Teresa affirmed, the by God to save the from the above both friars of the discalced Order,

with

and

mentioned disintegrating elements from the storm which was about


violence over them.

in their

to

midst and break with fatal


Fr.

Very few months


1

after his profession


ch. xxill.

Gratian

Foundations,

APOSTOLIC VISITORS

405

found himself invested with unexpected powers. Fr. Vargas, who had been named Visitor to the Order of Carmel in Andalusia, at the same time that Fr. Her nandez had been appointed to the same office in Castile, had invited the discalced to his Province in 1572, and had helped to settle them at Granada, La Pefmela, and at St. Juan del Porta, where they had taken the place of the friars of the mitigated Rule. Encouraged by their success, he decided upon sharing his authority with Fr. Baltasar of Jesus, which was almost equi

The following making the latter provincial. year Fr. Vargas invited Fr. Mariano to assist him in a new Foundation of the discalced friars at Seville, and told him to bring a coadjutor with him. Fr. Mariano made choice of Fr. Gratian, and very shortly after he had done so, Fr. Baltasar made over the powers which
valent to
1

he derived from the Apostolic Visitor to that young Fr. Vargas, instead of objecting to this somewhat summary proceeding, when he got into personal relations with Fr. Gratian, conceived such a high opinion of him, that he took the momentous step of handing over to him the powers he derived from the Holy See, alike over the mitigated and the discalced. Fr. Gratian, far from coveting such a post, saw only its
religious.

grave inconveniences, and at first refused to accept it, pleading his youth and inexperience, and the offence it
to the legitimate susceptibilities of the friars of the Observance. Unfortunately, Fr. Vargas, though a zealous man, was not a prudent one, and he persuaded

would give

himself that Fr. Gratian, with his exceptional powers,

would overcome an opposition to measures of Reform which he had himself found insuperable. He would therefore take no refusal. Fr. Mariano also joined his
entreaties, for he realized the great services that his
1

Boll.,

No. 568.

4 o6

THE
in his

LIFE OF SAINT
be
in

TERESA
to

confrere would

position

render

to

the

sub capacity. with the convents to himself mitted, resolving occupy of the discalced, and to leave the others in ignorance of the powers he possessed, unless urgent circumstances arose to give him occasion to use them. In spite of these precautions the friars of the Observance became alarmed, and wrote to Fr. Rossi, General of the Order,

Reform

new

Finally Fr. Gratian

that the partialities of the

Reformed branch menaced the


Rule, giving Fr. Gratian
s

Visitor Apostolic for the ruin of the mitigated

appointment as proof of

their allegations. 1 It will be remembered that

when, seven years before, Rossi had visited Spain in order to forward the cause of Reform, he had been deeply impressed by what he saw at the convent of St. Joseph at Avila. Teresa had not failed to keep up these favourable im pressions by a correspondence in which she acquainted her superior for as such she looked upon him with matters affecting the interests of her convents. The im
Fr.

of the

prudence of Fr. Vargas, and the displeasure of the friars Observance at what they conceived to be troub

ling the peace of the Order, operated, however, very unfavourably on the General s opinions. Too far from the seat of action to have a complete knowledge of the
facts,

Visitors

he asked the Holy See to revoke the power of the which was accordingly done on August i3th, Fr. Rossi waited till the convocation of the 1574. General Chapter in the following spring to publish this Brief. Though he kept it secret, yet the news of the change reached the ears of the Papal Nuncio at the
;

Spanish court. Mgr. Hormaneto, who occupied the post of Nuncio, was a man of great zeal, and so ardent a Reformer that
1

Boll.,

No. 586.

DIVISION IN THE
the

ORDER
it

407

when he occupied the see somewhat ironical title


his first arrival in

of

Padua

gained for him

of Reformator Orbis.

From

Spain he proclaimed himself a pro tector of the Carmelites of the Reform and realizing the influence that had been brought to bear on the Holy See in order to carry this measure of repression, he resolved to use his best efforts to counteract it. After examin ing the Brief he saw that though the Pope revoked the powers granted to the Visitors, he had not limited those which he, as Nuncio, exercised over the Religious Orders in Spain. Consequently, on his own authority he re-appointed Fr. Vargas, and gave him Fr. Gratian as coadjutor. This masterstroke completed the dis satisfaction of the friars of the Observance. They were ready to accuse the Nuncio of insubordination to the Holy See, but Mgr. Hormaneto had already put his case in influential hands, and obtained the assurance
;

that he

not propose entering into all the details of the lamentable struggle that ensued. In retracing its salient features we shall see our saint dominating the storm by her energy and her sweetness. Though this
in the history of our Lady s Order is a painful one, it should not scandalize us to find it subjected to a trial from which Holy Church herself has not been

We do

was acting within

his rights.

page

exempt. The holiest works here below have been founded by human hands, and humanity carries frailty and imperfection in its train. God triumphs in the end in His Church, whose youth and beauty He is ever renewing in spite of the storms that break over her, and so, in their measure and proportion, He triumphs in the work of His saints. He was to triumph in the Reform of Carmel, and it is to God s glory and the honour of our saint that we should see at what cost
this

was

effected.

4o8

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA

Encouraged by the Pope s approval, the Nuncio pro ceeded to gain that of the king, and also that of a council of high dignitaries of the Church convoked with the same object. Philip II, who was well ac with Fr. Gratian s family, gladly sanctioned quainted his appointment, and told the Nuncio to send for the young coadjutor to Madrid in order that he might be presented to him. Fr. Gratian was then at Seville, and on his way to obey the royal summons he stopped at Veas in order his to see and consult the holy mother. "When arrival was announced," she says, was filled with joy, for I had never seen him, and from all the good that I had heard about him I longed to know him. I was even happier after we had talked for some time adds u Never have I seen such per She together."
"I
:

In these words fection joined to so much sweetness." the saint hit upon Fr. Gratian s strongest characteristic.

hid under the mantle of Elias less of the fire of the prophet, and more of the meekness of the Saviour of

He

mankind.
Fr. Gratian

fided

all

his

opened his heart to the fears and anxieties to

saint, her.

and con
Teresa,

recognizing him
affairs of the

as her superior, consulted

him on the

Order, and on her own interior life, with 1 Fr. Gratian s equal straightforwardness and candour. intentions. was at Veas his stay beyond prolonged u He is for Fr. Teresa writes, "who, Mariano," waiting much to our satisfaction, delays his arrival." Fr. Gratian made use of this interval to persuade Teresa to undertake a new Foundation at Seville. She had hitherto restricted her convents to Castile on account of the General s authorization having been limited to
that province, assisted possibly
1

by a repugnance which
II,

Hist, of the Order, Vol.

ch. xiv.

TERESA S OBEDIENCE

409

she had to leave her own country and go into Anda but Fr. Gratian relieved her fears on the lusia, former point. "God has permitted, reverend mother," he said, "that you should have come under my juris
diction without intending, or even knowing it. You are therefore bound, in this province, to obey me, and

do all that I ask of you in God s service." Teresa was ready to obey, but she had strong reasons for wishing to undertake the Madrid Foundation first. She was expected at Madrid, and could rely there on powerful friends, such as the Princess Juana and Dona Leonor de Mascarenas, to help her. Moreover, she would then be in the neighbourhood of her other houses, which in the event of difficulties arising was a Fr. Gratian asked her to point of some importance.
to

consult

God

in prayer.

She did

so,

and

told

him
"I

that

our Lord wished her to go to Madrid in preference to Seville. "And yet," Fr. Gratian am persisted, in favour of your going to Seville." Teresa strongly said nothing, and began her preparations to obey him. Edified by her docility, the father allowed her to go on for two days; then he asked her: "Reverend
it is How is it that possible I am mistaken. are to follow in wishes you willing my opposition to a revelation which you know comes from God?" "Be

mother,

I cause," the saint replied, might be mistaken about a revelation, but I can never go wrong in obeying my
"

superiors."

Humble and

beautiful

answer, coming

did from one of the saint s age and experience to one of less than half that age. Fr. Gratian urged her to lay the matter again before God in prayer. This time the answer was: "Thou hast done well, daughter, to obey. The affairs of the
as
it

Reform and Madrid


1

will lose
I,

nothing by
xxvu.

it.

Go

to

Yepes,

II, ch.

410
Seville
;

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


you
will

succeed there,

but you will have

much

to

suffer."

Accordingly Fr. Gratian started for Madrid, and Teresa took the road for Seville in company with five
other nuns, one of whom, Mother Mary of St. Joseph, in the world Maria de Salazar, she destined to be Teresa suffered much from the heat on the prioress.

journey, as she

tells

us in her delightful and spirited


"a

account of
of

it.

The covered coaches became

species

purgatory," but the courage of her daughters was such that in their company she would be willing to go to the country of the Moors. On the eve of Pentecost the saint was attacked by high fever. Never in my life have I had such a fever. I became unconscious, and our sisters in order to bring me back to my senses threw water on my face, but the water was so heated by the sun that it was not of much use. ... I will describe \vhat our inn was like a little hut in which we were given a tiny room under the roof, without and the sun of Andalusia shutters, into which the sun the door was opened. They whenever poured straight laid me on the bed, but I would rather have been on the floor, as it was so high at one end, and so low at the other, that I could hardly keep my place on it. ... At
"

last

made up my mind

to get

up and leave

it,

for

found the sun more endurable in the open air than in the room. Two days earlier we were exposed to great The the in danger passage of the Guadalquivir. was over our and which took us carriages ferry-boat
obliged to go in a slanting direction instead of crossing the river where the rope was stretched. They made

use of the rope all the same, but those who were holding it let go, so that the boat was carried away without I was more grieved for or oars by the current. ropes the boatman, who was in despair, than alarmed by

TERESA S JOURNEY TO SEVILLE


the danger.
rest to shout.

411

We

nuns

set to

work

to pray,

and the

By great good luck a gentleman saw the danger we were in, and sent quickly to our assist ance. ... I shall never forget the touching way in which the boatman s son, a child of ten or eleven, sympathized with his father s distress. It was enough to make one praise God to see his loving little heart
sharing the paternal anxieties. The boat grounded at Another last on a sandbank, whence we were rescued. misadventure which we had on Whit Tuesday put me had hurried our journey in order out much more. to arrive early at Cordova, in time to hear Mass without being seen by everybody, at a church beyond the had chosen this church as the quietest bridge. one in the town. When we reached the bridge we were stopped our carriages were forbidden to pass The guard went without the governor s permission. to get it, but the governor being in bed we were kept two hours waiting for it. During this time a crowd surrounded the carriage in order to discover who was

We

We

That did not trouble us much, as the carriages inside. were well closed. The permission came, but we found ourselves in another difficulty the passage on to the bridge was so narrow that something, what it was I know not, had to be sawn away before we could pass through. This took more time. At last we arrived at the church where Julian of Avila was going to say Mass, but as the church was dedicated to the Holy Ghost, the days of Pentecost were celebrated with greater pomp there than elsewhere. There was even When I saw the crowd with which the to be a sermon. church was filled, I was so troubled by it that my own feeling was that it would be better to go without Mass than to encounter this multitude. Fr. Julian was of another opinion, so as he is a theologian I followed
:

412

him. out of the carriages with our veils cover ing- our faces, and at the sight of our white mantles of coarse stuff and our sandals the people were roused to enthusiasm. We, on the other hand, were not a little As for me, it gave me such a shock that my put out.
fever
left

THE We got

LIFE OF SAINT

TERESA

me.

One

really

might have thought from

the tumult that the bulls were being driven through the town. This grand reception was in truth a great
trial to us.
"

which are wanting in the saint s narrative. One day they were taking a midday rest in the fields when they saw some men at a little distance, disputing. From words the men proceeded to blows, or rather to one side attacking the other with knives and daggers. The nuns crowded round their mother, but the saint, who never wanted courage in the service of God, put them aside, and going up to the men implored them in burning words to remember God, in Whose presence they were fight ing, and the judgment which would follow them after death. Struck by the faith and courage which breathed from every word she uttered, they dropped their knives, and one by one slunk away let us trust to meditate
details

The good chaplain gives us some

upon the

saint s advice at leisure.

The

distractions

of

Teresa from keeping the

Holy Ghost" with her usual devotion. She spent Whit-Monday in a hermitage near Ecija, and calling to mind the signal
graces God had bestowed on her many years before, on that day, and which had been followed up by such innumerable ones since, she became a prey to what she herself calls a tormenting sense of gratitude. What return could she make to her Divine Master for all He had done for her? She had sacrificed everything to
"
"

the journey did "Easter of the

not

prevent

Foundations^ chap. xxiv.

THE SAINT S LAST SACRIFICE


Him
;

413

but had she kept nothing back? She asked the question of God, and it seemed to her then that in the midst of her pains and labours, in spite of the vows by which she is bound, she had kept a certain degree of

independence.

Instantly she takes this last possession,

and joyfully surrenders it to the Holy forth she will own no will of her own

Hence Spirit. will she follow ;


by her

God

s will in all

matters, as

it

is

signified to her

superiors.

Teresa shall
fice

tell

us in her

own words what


one
side,"

this sacri
"it

meant to her. seems giving up little

On
;

she says,

on the other,

it

appeared

to

me

I saw that I should have a very difficult thing to do. no exterior, or interior, liberty for the rest of my life,

and
in

was conscious of a profound repugnance to bind Except for the agony I felt ing myself in this manner.
I

leaving

my

father s house,

nothing, not even

my

At the moment Fr. profession, had cost me so much. Gratian s good qualities and the affection I bore him w ere nothing to me. I looked upon him as a stranger, and only asked myself if my promise would be
r

pleasing to the Holy Ghost. Lord filled me with confidence.

After a

struggle our

...

knelt

down and
1

promised

A
May

obey my superior great inward joy followed


to

in all

things this fresh promise.

till death."

On

26th the saint arrived at Seville.

Here again the

usual trials awaited her.

The

friars of the discalced

Order had preceded them in that city, and had received such a friendly welcome from the excellent Archbishop de Roxas, that Fr. Gratian assumed that a similar welcome would be accorded to the Carmelite nuns. Unfortunately the Archbishop had made a rule, in
consequence of the number of poor convents already in existence, that no fresh one should be founded in
1

Relations, VI.

V. de la Fuente.

414

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


"in

some means of support; and as Teresa way of funds we had not one penny left of the small sum we took for our journey. All we possessed in the world was our habits and some coarse
the town without
tells us,

the

stuff to

cover the

passed in negotiations. Finally, Fr. Gratian s letters decided the Archbishop to call on Teresa, and from that moment the Carmelites cause was gained he could not resist such charm and good ness. On leaving her he blessed her heartily, and said You shall do everything you wish, reverend mother.
; :
"

waggons."

month

agree to
God."
1

it

all

beforehand, for the honour and glory

of

That very day the Blessed Sacrament was installed little house which had been hired for them. The community was enclosed, and Teresa appointed Mother Mary of St. Joseph prioress. The regular exercises of convent life began. The house was small and inconvenient, and the destitution so great that the nuns slept on the bare ground. For some time they lived like birds, on crumbs of bread which the Heavenly Father let fall from His hands, a few vegetables, some fruit, even herbs from the field, was all they had to eat. Amongst all the rich and pious families in Seville not one came to their help. A charitable lady, Dona de Valera, knowing their extreme poverty, wished to
in the

assist them, but in order to hide her good actions she confided her alms to a faithless servant who disposed of

the

money

otherwise.

This was not

all.

The

health

of the

community

privations.

The

suffered from the climate, and their saint even passed through physical

and mental
"I

trials,

so that,
"Lord

as

she says, she hardly

recognized herself. ask myself what


1

is

and Saviour," she cried, become of Thy servant? She


II,

History of the Order, Vol.

Book

II, ch.

xv.

PRIVATIONS AT SEVILLE
who thought she had
Thee
to face all the

415

received graces sufficient from storms in the world, is now weak,

miserable, bowed did not last long.

down by

trifle."

This weakness

Besides the trials we have enumerated, the saint had yet another, and a very serious one to endure. It will be remembered that, prior to the Foundation at Pastrana, Teresa had stayed for some clays with
the Princess of Eboli in her palace. The latter having heard that the saint had written the history of her life at her confessor s orders, insisted on seeing it. Teresa refused but her refusal redoubled the princess s
;

curiosity.

She urged that both the Duchess of Alba and Dona Luisa de la Cerda had read it. Why was
to her? After a long resistance Teresa gave in, hoping by this concession on a point which only concerned herself, personally, to gain the imperious foundress s consent to other measures on which she could not yield, as the good of the Order was involved in them. She lent her the book, there fore, but on the condition it should be shown to no one.

the favour denied

The princess, incapable made a jest of its contents.

of understanding the book,

It was passed from hand to and reached the court at Madrid. There hand, finally it was admired a but at the by few, by greater laughed

number of its frivolous readers. Teresa tried all this time in vain to recover possession of it. Meanwhile the about the came the ear book to of the Holy reports Office, together with some malevolent gossip which the princess, since her breach with the Carmelites, had not scrupled to spread about them. Finally she handed the MS. over to Inquisitors, hoping possibly that the ven geance which she had not been able to wreak on the
nuns would
fall on their mother s head. Teresa, acquainted of these facts by her

old

and

416

THE LIFE OF SAINT TERESA


Bishop of Avila, was much distressed.
to fear that there
in her book, the result of her

faithful friend the

Her humility had always caused her


were many errors
learning,

want of and she dreaded the scandal which the de nunciation of these would cause, and consequent loss to the work of Reform. She was lamenting this to Mother Anne of Jesus, prioress at Veas, who answered
side
"

her that if she prayed hard "and enlisted God on their the trial would turn to good. They agreed ac cordingly to communicate with this intention. After Teresa had made her thanksgiving she returned to the prioress, and said to her: "Let us thank God, my Our Lord has assured me that He will daughter. Himself take charge of this affair, and that my cause is 1 His." Thus consoled she left for Seville, where she heard that the Holy Office had given a favourable judgment on her book. But this triumph was followed by further anxieties. young novice, said by her friends to be possessed of astounding qualities and

merits, presented herself for admission to the noviceTeresa took her with some misgivings, ship at Seville.
for

she was a

little

afraid of perfection that


;

had been

the subject of so lant s admirers,


Sefiora,

much praise and to one of the postu who had indulged in exaggerated
"Take

phrases, she remarked with gentle irony:


if,

care,

her, this good soul does not perform miracles, where will be your The reputed saint was in reality a reputation?"

after all

you

tell

me about

disappointed and fanciful girl much attached to certain puerile devotions of the kind which Teresa could not endure, as she believed them to be the ruin of true piety. Discouraged in her inclinations, the novice

gave herself up to feelings of dissatisfaction. practices of convent life appeared insupportable


1

The
to her,

Manrique.

TERESA SUFFERS FROM CALUMNY

417

and when she was asked in Chapter (according to the Carmelite custom) what were her interior dispositions, and whether she was in want of spiritual help, she ob jected to what she called a sacramental abuse, and de nounced the prioress to the chaplain for wishing to hear the nuns confessions." The chaplain, though a worthy man, was scrupulous to excess, and without taking any trouble to inquire into the accusation, he thought it his duty to denounce the Carmelites to the
"

Inquisition at Seville. Accordingly shortly afterwards, carriages drove up to the little monastery in the Plaza, and various members of the Holy Office stepped out of it. After subje